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Standard Punishments Not Enough to Deter Some Poachers

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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was common to receive more than a dozen citizen complaints a year about Kochevar, even when his hunting privileges had been revoked.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?

Comments (27)

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from Fruguy101 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

When it comes to people like him, who consistently violate like he has, prison terms are the next step. While that may seem extreme when it comes to the number of inmates our prisons hold these days, laws are laws, and those who willfully ignore them on a regular basis are subject to stiffer penalties.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from elijahsamuelburnett wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i say prison. I mean the law is the law and you have to follow the law and if you dont you need to be punished

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

prison and revoke his right to own firearms. give him the maximum!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I vote against prison. Expensive. Instead, fine him a whopping big amount, seize and sell at auction all firearms, optics, and vehicles used in the event. Lifetime ban on hunting and fishing and a felony conviction resulting in forfeiture of firearms ownership rights.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Might I add, in addition to fines, find a way for him to repay his dept to the environment. Pick up trash, maintain a park or shooting range, plant trees, etc, etc, for a long enough time to make him think. Then if he doesn't carry thru, toss his sorry carcass in the clink.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BassforBNuts wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I agree with @Mike Diehl, prison is expensive for the tax payers and he will get out and do it again. A felony conviction with forfieture of all firearms ownership for LIFE is the way to go.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Alexander wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

This is the type of guy that they point to whenever a group tries to push anti-gun or anti-hunting legislation.

This guy should lose all rights and privileges for gun ownership. This guy needs to be severely fined with an estate auction of any and all property to settle the fine. This guy should face prison time of some sort for his actions and his son should as well since he obviously holds our laws and regulations in the same regard. Then while he's not in prison, he should have to do 1000 hours of community service cleaning the stalls in the local zoo.

He is a disgrace to all that we hold dear in conservation and as a sportsman.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SIR JAMES wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I live in Maryland now, but I am from Indiana. Back in Indiana, when you are convicted of a poaching type offense, you lose EVERYTHING. Even if it is your first time caught, you lose your house, your car, all weapons, EVERYTHING. Then as if that is not bad enough, you usually get 1-3 YEARS prison time.
Also you lose any/all privileges to hunting,& trapping, not allowed to own, purchase, or possess any kind of weapon that fires any kind of projectile, not even a BB gun.
Anyone who calls in a poacher(s)through an anonymous phone line, often(but not always) gets a reward when the poacher is convicted.

THAT, is what I think they should do to all poachers nation wide.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I agree with most of the commenters and the judge.

There has to be a progressively steep punishment in order to deter serial poachers. Steep fines, long community service and time behind bars are needed.

Otherwise if the poacher pays the fine and hunts without a license anyway, taking away hunting rights even for life, isn't enough.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I've always thought it was silly to take hunting rights away from a poacher. If they cared about hunting rights, they wouldn't be poaching. From the sound of it, this guy was a serious problem, so I don't disagree with the jail time. In most cases though, I think a big fine and or seizing their guns/property would be a better alternative.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HawkEyes wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

If he was sentenced to a federal prison then he is a convicted felon and will no longer be allowed to possess a firearm. Just a FYI

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walmsley wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Whack his PeePee off! He'll stay home!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Judges need leeway to punish so to fit the crime and the criminal.

From the sounds of it this guy does need to do time, and he should have been getting progressively more harsh sentences already.

Often we get hunters who pay the fine with a smile. For some people a $2000 fine is equal to a half hour's earnings. Judges need to have many options rather than simply monetary.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

2nd and subsequent convictions should be elevated to a felony. and you get "the bitch" after three. wildlife violations have always been considered " slap on the wrist" crimes. with anti-gun groups under every rock trying to take our guns by any means possible, we should take the "slob hunters" out of the argument whenever possible.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from thegreatsantini wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

why would someone go throughth all that work for something illegal he could spend that time hunting legally and he would be a boss at it haha what a low life

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from elijahsamuelburnett wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

guys even if they do take his right to own firearms away he can still get out and do it. you cant take the right to borrow a firearm from a family member

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from student-archer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Unfortunately in this case there may be nothing short of incarceration that would deter the individual from poaching. Times are tough, and anyone that has recently been unemployed knows that it is difficult to make ends meet. A long rap sheet and prision sentence will make it difficult, if not impossible, to find gainful employment. In hard times people will do whatever they can to survive, or put meat on the table. Short of keeping this individual behind bars there may not be anything that will stop the poaching.
I do not have an answer to the problem, but much like trying to rehabilitate a alcoholic or drug addict, there appears to be little hope in this case. The prision and court systems are overloaded as it is, long term incarceration can't be the answer...sadly for the taxpayer the answer must come from the offender.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from countryboyhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I say take EVERYTHING they own, make them homeless, prevent them from ever getting a job, and make sure they cant get help from ANYONE.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Giving him a felony conviction, forfeiting his firearms, lifetime ban on hunting and fishing, selling all of his firearms at auction, fining him an enormous amount and banning him from owning firearms in his lifetime, will not stop him from hunting illegally. I have dealt with a couple of these types during my career. You cannot do anything short of locking them up to keep them from hunting illegal.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from truckee trout wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i say max fines,prison time with felony charges,take away all possessions,send the message of zero tolerance.if they continue poach them!its totally unacceptable and they should pay.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

So fining him and telling him "no-no" won't do any more than the 13 DUI convictions deterred the clown in Seattle from drunk driving. Send him to Arizona instead of jail.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Why would Arizona want 'im? Prisoner exchange? One WI poacher in exchange for 3200 illegal immigrant burglars?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Mike that was a good one! I'm still laughing.

Honestly I don't know what the answer is short of locking him up as Sarge01 stated.

Take away his firearm ownership; ha, ha that's a laugh and I'm not being facetious. He obviously disregards the law and like other criminals he will eventually find a way to obtain one.

You take everything he owns and he will wind up a welfare case and we all will still pay for it. I'm sure there are enough libertards within the social services system that will take up his case and see that the taxpayers insure he doesn't starve to death.

As far as giving the rest of us a bad image, I don't necessarily think so. I have many "liberal" friends (not extreme progressives) who feel that hunting and fishing is good and a viable part of wildlife conservation. They would read this guy's history and come to the conclusion that he is not the norm, he is a criminal pure and simple. BTW I did not state the preceding in defence of liberals, only that I opine that most of them would see this guy for what he is and he is not representative of all sportsmen and women.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

fishing line wrapped several times around his testicles and pull...see which tears first! i have no tolerance for people who repeatedly break the law.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Aw Shucks guys, just make him french kiss a big ole grizzly then he won't be poaching no more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

What do you do with a guy like this. Lock him up and let him live forever on taxpayers money? Were I the subject of this blog, I think the public humilation would be shameful enough to wanna make me find Jesus. I say about a gram of phenobarbital IV would do him, then burn him up and flush the ashes down the toilet with the rest of the crap. Just a thought,,,

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbonzzz wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Community service and house arrest keep the cells open for violent offenders who have no right to be walking the streets

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from jamesti wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

prison and revoke his right to own firearms. give him the maximum!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I vote against prison. Expensive. Instead, fine him a whopping big amount, seize and sell at auction all firearms, optics, and vehicles used in the event. Lifetime ban on hunting and fishing and a felony conviction resulting in forfeiture of firearms ownership rights.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fruguy101 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

When it comes to people like him, who consistently violate like he has, prison terms are the next step. While that may seem extreme when it comes to the number of inmates our prisons hold these days, laws are laws, and those who willfully ignore them on a regular basis are subject to stiffer penalties.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from elijahsamuelburnett wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i say prison. I mean the law is the law and you have to follow the law and if you dont you need to be punished

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BassforBNuts wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I agree with @Mike Diehl, prison is expensive for the tax payers and he will get out and do it again. A felony conviction with forfieture of all firearms ownership for LIFE is the way to go.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Alexander wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

This is the type of guy that they point to whenever a group tries to push anti-gun or anti-hunting legislation.

This guy should lose all rights and privileges for gun ownership. This guy needs to be severely fined with an estate auction of any and all property to settle the fine. This guy should face prison time of some sort for his actions and his son should as well since he obviously holds our laws and regulations in the same regard. Then while he's not in prison, he should have to do 1000 hours of community service cleaning the stalls in the local zoo.

He is a disgrace to all that we hold dear in conservation and as a sportsman.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SIR JAMES wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I live in Maryland now, but I am from Indiana. Back in Indiana, when you are convicted of a poaching type offense, you lose EVERYTHING. Even if it is your first time caught, you lose your house, your car, all weapons, EVERYTHING. Then as if that is not bad enough, you usually get 1-3 YEARS prison time.
Also you lose any/all privileges to hunting,& trapping, not allowed to own, purchase, or possess any kind of weapon that fires any kind of projectile, not even a BB gun.
Anyone who calls in a poacher(s)through an anonymous phone line, often(but not always) gets a reward when the poacher is convicted.

THAT, is what I think they should do to all poachers nation wide.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

2nd and subsequent convictions should be elevated to a felony. and you get "the bitch" after three. wildlife violations have always been considered " slap on the wrist" crimes. with anti-gun groups under every rock trying to take our guns by any means possible, we should take the "slob hunters" out of the argument whenever possible.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Why would Arizona want 'im? Prisoner exchange? One WI poacher in exchange for 3200 illegal immigrant burglars?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Might I add, in addition to fines, find a way for him to repay his dept to the environment. Pick up trash, maintain a park or shooting range, plant trees, etc, etc, for a long enough time to make him think. Then if he doesn't carry thru, toss his sorry carcass in the clink.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I agree with most of the commenters and the judge.

There has to be a progressively steep punishment in order to deter serial poachers. Steep fines, long community service and time behind bars are needed.

Otherwise if the poacher pays the fine and hunts without a license anyway, taking away hunting rights even for life, isn't enough.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Judges need leeway to punish so to fit the crime and the criminal.

From the sounds of it this guy does need to do time, and he should have been getting progressively more harsh sentences already.

Often we get hunters who pay the fine with a smile. For some people a $2000 fine is equal to a half hour's earnings. Judges need to have many options rather than simply monetary.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from elijahsamuelburnett wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

guys even if they do take his right to own firearms away he can still get out and do it. you cant take the right to borrow a firearm from a family member

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from student-archer wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Unfortunately in this case there may be nothing short of incarceration that would deter the individual from poaching. Times are tough, and anyone that has recently been unemployed knows that it is difficult to make ends meet. A long rap sheet and prision sentence will make it difficult, if not impossible, to find gainful employment. In hard times people will do whatever they can to survive, or put meat on the table. Short of keeping this individual behind bars there may not be anything that will stop the poaching.
I do not have an answer to the problem, but much like trying to rehabilitate a alcoholic or drug addict, there appears to be little hope in this case. The prision and court systems are overloaded as it is, long term incarceration can't be the answer...sadly for the taxpayer the answer must come from the offender.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from countryboyhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I say take EVERYTHING they own, make them homeless, prevent them from ever getting a job, and make sure they cant get help from ANYONE.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Giving him a felony conviction, forfeiting his firearms, lifetime ban on hunting and fishing, selling all of his firearms at auction, fining him an enormous amount and banning him from owning firearms in his lifetime, will not stop him from hunting illegally. I have dealt with a couple of these types during my career. You cannot do anything short of locking them up to keep them from hunting illegal.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from truckee trout wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i say max fines,prison time with felony charges,take away all possessions,send the message of zero tolerance.if they continue poach them!its totally unacceptable and they should pay.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Mike that was a good one! I'm still laughing.

Honestly I don't know what the answer is short of locking him up as Sarge01 stated.

Take away his firearm ownership; ha, ha that's a laugh and I'm not being facetious. He obviously disregards the law and like other criminals he will eventually find a way to obtain one.

You take everything he owns and he will wind up a welfare case and we all will still pay for it. I'm sure there are enough libertards within the social services system that will take up his case and see that the taxpayers insure he doesn't starve to death.

As far as giving the rest of us a bad image, I don't necessarily think so. I have many "liberal" friends (not extreme progressives) who feel that hunting and fishing is good and a viable part of wildlife conservation. They would read this guy's history and come to the conclusion that he is not the norm, he is a criminal pure and simple. BTW I did not state the preceding in defence of liberals, only that I opine that most of them would see this guy for what he is and he is not representative of all sportsmen and women.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

What do you do with a guy like this. Lock him up and let him live forever on taxpayers money? Were I the subject of this blog, I think the public humilation would be shameful enough to wanna make me find Jesus. I say about a gram of phenobarbital IV would do him, then burn him up and flush the ashes down the toilet with the rest of the crap. Just a thought,,,

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbonzzz wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Community service and house arrest keep the cells open for violent offenders who have no right to be walking the streets

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I've always thought it was silly to take hunting rights away from a poacher. If they cared about hunting rights, they wouldn't be poaching. From the sound of it, this guy was a serious problem, so I don't disagree with the jail time. In most cases though, I think a big fine and or seizing their guns/property would be a better alternative.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HawkEyes wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

If he was sentenced to a federal prison then he is a convicted felon and will no longer be allowed to possess a firearm. Just a FYI

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from thegreatsantini wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

why would someone go throughth all that work for something illegal he could spend that time hunting legally and he would be a boss at it haha what a low life

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

So fining him and telling him "no-no" won't do any more than the 13 DUI convictions deterred the clown in Seattle from drunk driving. Send him to Arizona instead of jail.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

fishing line wrapped several times around his testicles and pull...see which tears first! i have no tolerance for people who repeatedly break the law.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Aw Shucks guys, just make him french kiss a big ole grizzly then he won't be poaching no more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walmsley wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Whack his PeePee off! He'll stay home!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment