Editors Blog

Stiffer Deer Poaching Law Sends Wrong Message

Your heart is in the right place, Maryland, but you got this one dead wrong.

Earlier this week, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that will increase deer-poaching maximum penalties to $10,000 and 80 hours of community service. The caveat: IF the buck scores more than 150 inches on the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

Maryland deer poaching law

This is a nice 8-pointer, but he’s nowhere near 150 inches.

What happens to the guy or gal who poaches a puny forkhorn, 6-pointer or busted-up 8-pointer? Or (gasp) a doe? Ah, that will only cost ya $2,000 to $5,000, and 80 hours of community service.

Hey, kudos to Maryland for putting its collective foot down on deer poachers. Should poachers face steep penalties? Absolutely, but to drawing a line on which deer is more valuable sends a horrible message to the nonhunting public:  “Hunters are, after all, only in it for the antlers.”

Of course, we are not. Poaching is poaching, Maryland. Clean up the verbiage in this proposed law and make it an even punishment across the board.

A whitetail is a whitetail. Period.