We addressed youth poaching in the March and June editions of Texas Fish & Game but there is much more to say. And on the 4th of July it starts with tackling the ugly trend of eagle poaching.
Take for example, a 17-year-old Harris County, TX boy who was charged in connection with a shooting of a bald eagle near White Oak Bayou. It was one of a pair that actively nested in the area for several years.
A bald eagle.
The symbol of the United States of America.
Yes, a bald eagle.
This was close to home so I started investigating eagle poaching and found numerous instances of teens killing eagles. The most heinous instance came from the Pacific Northwest.
Washington Fish and Wildlife police said a sheriff’s department officer found evidence of teens purposely hunting for and poaching eagles.
“Officer Bolton and the deputy searched the area for downed wildlife and soon discovered a relatively fresh doe deer on the hillside near where the suspects had parked. Four older deer carcasses in various stages of decomposition were found in the same location. The officers learned that one of the young men shot the doe the night before by using a high-powered spotlight,” police wrote in a Facebook post. “The animal was then placed near the other carcasses in an effort to bait in and shoot eagles.”
Multiple eagles killed across the country have been killed by teens including the Washington case where they actually baited up the eagles and illegally shot deer to do it.
Poaching is vile.
And when our young people are involved in so much of it everyone the hunting industry should be asking why.
This has to change and we must take off our blinders for not only the sake of wildlife but the teens themselves.
Poaching is not hunting. It is the antithesis of legal, regulated hunting and it damages wildlife populations in terrible ways.
We need to confront it here in America before it becomes an epidemic and we have already covered teen poaching of endangered and protected species is on the rise-it is contempt for wildlife.
Unfortunately this kind of contempt can be contagious.
If we can come to a place of honest we can find real ways to conserve wildlife in the face of gigantic obstacles and hit on issues that no one seems to want to address.
Chester Moore, Jr.