June 10, 2011
Standard Punishments Not Enough to Deter Some Poachers
By Scott Bestul
Does revoking a poacher’s hunting privileges stop him from committing further violations? It surely didn’t for Richard Kochevar. The Wisconsin poacher had so many tickets, fines and revocations in his past that a judge threw him in jail for his most recent violation. Kochevar was convicted last February for possessing a deer shot in Nebraska and tagged with a Wisconsin tag. He received 6 months in federal prison.
Wardens from both states were assisted by federal officers in nabbing Kochevar, who had been traveling to Nebraska in recent years, where he and his son deer hunted without a license. When the Kochevar’s were successful in the Cornhusker State, they drove untagged animals back to Wisconsin, a violation of the Lacey Act.
According to Wisconsin DNR law enforcement, Kochevar had a long history of violating state game laws. He’d received tickets, fines and license revocations for 14 different state violations, including shooting deer out of season, shining while in possession of firearms, and bear hunting without the proper license. Local wardens said it was common to receive more than a dozen citizen complaints a year about Kochevar, even when his hunting privileges had been revoked.
We’ve discussed poaching and its penalties several times in this space over the last few weeks; what do you think is the best way to deal with folks like Kochevar, who clearly aren’t deterred by the standard punishment?