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Deer Poaching

Agents with the Missouri Department of Conservation are scoping out deer poachers during hunting season.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Agents with the Missouri Department of Conservation are scoping out deer poachers during hunting season. Unlike Deer Hunter Don Shilling, poachers don't wait for the legal shot.

"Sometimes it's just a thing of opportunity. A person is driving down the road, they've been hunting, they've got a gun in their truck. They see a deer and they just shoot it," said Don Shilling, Hunter. 

Adam Bracken is an agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation. He says people shooting deer from the roadway, their vehicle, or trespassing to kill deer are a few examples of illegal hunting. 

"The people who are avid hunters who are really out there putting the work in to try to take a trophy animal, most of them would probably say it's because the person's lazy," said Adam Bracken, Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Shilling considers it cheating.

"When somebody takes their deer by poaching during the closed season or shooting in the night, or spotlighting or such as that, is cheating on the rest of the guys who do things right," said Shilling. 

Spotlighting or using artificial light to hunt deer is also considered poaching in the State of Missouri.

"One is to just pattern the animals at night, they use the darkness part of their natural defense so when a person uses an artificial light, it breaks down that natural defense that they're using," said Bracken. 

People caught poaching can face a fine from $300 to a $1,000 per charge. It just all depends on what a person is charged with. Conservation agents say deer hunting is like any other sport, there's a set of rules to follow.

"The only difference is with hunting and fishing and stuff like that, those rules are also laws," said Bracken. 

If you know about a poaching incident, you can call the toll free number "Operation Game Theft," your local conservation agent directly or the local sheriff's office.
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