After three men were sentenced Tuesday for killing deer inside Yosemite National Park, the incident has drawn attention to a growing problem in California, with citations and arrests having increased by 600 percent compared to 10 years ago.
Here's the story from the Sacramento Bee:
_The federal sentencing Tuesday of three men for killing deer inside Yosemite National Park, it turns out, was not an isolated incident. Hunting inside California's parks is a growing problem, according to data obtained by The Bee from the California Department of Parks and Recreation. State park rangers wrote citations or made arrests for hunting 366 times in 2009 - six times as many as a decade earlier.
Karl Poppelreiter, chief of enforcement at State Parks, said the cause may be that the state's park ranger work force has remained flat while population has skyrocketed. "When that happens, we have less time to be proactive in the arena of protecting the resources," Poppelreiter said. "So poaching and other types of wildlife and resource crimes do increase.
Similar data were not available Wednesday from the National Park Service. But spokeswoman Kari Cobb said Yosemite has seen two other federal prosecutions for hunting in the past two years.
"It doesn't happen frequently, but we have caught a number of people in the past," said Cobb. "These places offer a location for animals to escape encroachment that we as a population have put on them, their herds and their territories."
On Tuesday, three poachers were sentenced in the small federal court in Yosemite Valley to fines totaling nearly $60,000 for illegally hunting mule deer inside Yosemite National Park, where hunting is banned.
Officials said the penalties are the stiffest ever imposed for hunting in Yosemite._
Are these penalties stiff enough, and have you heard about an increase of illegal hunting in state parks in your neck of the woods?