Poaching doesn’t pay off, and it’s really just stealing
If you’re reading this, understand that I’m most likely at a lake fishing right now. Yup, it’s about time I got some serious fishing in.
This was supposed to be a summer of fun. The last couple summers were more about work and, as I’ve said before, all work and no play makes Chuck a dull boy. This summer hasn’t lived up to its predisposed theme.
Last weekend surely wasn’t about fun. But I managed to work some in. We moved our daughter from Eau Claire to Sun Prairie where she plans on living for her first grown-up job. Congrats to one of Wisconsin’s newest math teachers (she took after her mom not her dad).
So, despite having to move everything out of her old apartment on Saturday, we did manage to run the dogs, go for a ride on the UTV, and pick up my new clay thrower for Josh and I to get some practice in with. On Sunday I got to exercise the dogs and sling a few arrows at the target before we departed for Sun Prairie.
That’s because, just before 0200 hours, her dog woke me up being a little anxious. Thunderstorm. For a dog that’s not gun shy, thunder and fireworks freak her out.
So I gave her an anxiety med and petted her until the first wave stopped. My wife then took her out to do what dogs do when you need to let them out in the middle of the night. Then I petted her until the stuff started working and the second wave of storms hit. At about 0500, my dog decided I needed to let her out...that’s how I got the little bit of fun in I did.
On the way down to Sun Prairie, Josh and I were in my truck pulling the trailer. The better half and my daughter drove down in her vehicle. Josh was reading and I was listening to podcasts. One of those podcasts was talking about poaching.
Ah, the old poaching thing again. (I did catch an episode of Northwood’s Law too before we left.) Some of you are saying, “Kolar, if someone needs the meat I have no problem with it.” Well, the problem is, I don’t either and most likely neither would the warden. What?
See, the problem with poaching — as was pointed out in the podcast and in other podcasts that occasionally tackle the topic like Meateater — is that poaching rarely — I mean like almost never anywhere, especially in Wisconsin — has anything to do with meat on the table. And if it does it’s meth related, which means there was money for food. Years ago you faithful readers might recall a piece where several Wisconsin conservation wardens pointed out things like the social safety net in place to make sure families and children don’t go hungry. We all pay taxes towards those programs. And then the Hunters Against Hungry programs started, and hunters’ support of local food pantries. And those same game wardens pointed out how every poacher they catch has always spent more than the value of the poundage of meat in the cost of ground beef or pork chops or chicken thighs to poach that deer — often to take only the back straps or back quarters.
Kind of like the rig my buddy Mike caught up in Vilas County back in ’04 or so. I was up there, but in a hotel pool with my family, that night when they reeled in rig of guys based out of Marinette County on the weekends, but who lived down by Milwaukee. Just the fuel to drive up from Milwaukee to their childhood home country and over to Vilas County and back would exceed the value of the venison in grocery store meat. Not to mention, the arrows and broadheads they left behind cost about $20.
Then take these guys that were just recently caught poaching walleyes in southern Wisconsin. A whole bunch of them were from Illinois and had nothing better to do in the evening than drive around their burbs to hook up and head to Wisconsin with dip nets during the walleye spawn.
What they spent in gas and beer could have bought whole lobster in a store, much less walleye filets. Feeding the family has nothing to do with poaching.
And poaching most definitely isn’t hunting. The longer we tolerate it, the longer you let them steal from you.
CHUCK K OLAR LOCAL O UTDOORSMAN