You read that right: A group of 16 Missouri poachers just got busted with nearly 500 roasted squirrels between them – all ready to be eaten.
Or they were. One law-abiding citizen, however, put a stop to this underground ring of smoky squirrels. Thanks to the tip, Missouri Department of Conservation Protection Branch Corporals Brad Hadley and Eric Long were able to bust up this rodential black market.
Through the public’s help, the corporals were able to get into contact with a “large group” of non-resident squirrel hunters, reports Houston Herald. According to authorities, these out-of-state poachers were camping out around the Current River Conservation Area.
There, the ring of 16
hunters poachers was able to amass a whopping 471 squirrels, roast them, and then organize them for some sort of nefarious poacher’s dinner. We’re guessing on that last part.
Yet as Chef Kevin Gillespe comments on MeatEater‘s Instagram case image below: “471 charred squirrels? What kind of Lord Voldemort sh*t were these guys up to?”
“Sixteen poachers in Missouri were just busted with 471 charred squirrels—well beyond their possession limit.”MeatEater
The award for best comment, however, goes to Brendan N., who replies: “That’s nuts.”
Nuts, indeed. That’s a small forest’s worth of squirrels, right there.
Rodent Ring: Missouri’s Squirrel Black Market Gets Busted
The Herald cites a two-day hunting period for the poachers. In 48 hours, the 16 individuals were able to harvest an astounding 471 squirrels. Squirrel hunting itself, of course, is legal. But Missouri regulations hold a harvest limit of 10-per-day.
Moreover, personal possession limits are set to 20 at any given time. In total, the trade says, the poachers would harvest a scurry of 151 squirrels over their possession limit. As a result, each of the 16 has been cited with “possession of overlimit of squirrels.”
Additional warnings for “failure to keep wildlife separate and identifiable” went out individually, as well.
“Of course, all hunters, regardless of resident status, are welcome and encouraged to hunt in Missouri, but all hunters must know the regulations prior to hunting,” Corporal Brad Hadley tells the Herald. “Gross overlimit of squirrel such as cited [in this case] are damaging to the local populations and it is also stealing from other hunters who abide by the regulations.”
In short: Not worth it.
The Missouri Department of Conservation Protection adds that this isn’t the first ring of squirrel poachers to come about in the state, either. So if you see anything “unusual or illegal” while in Missouri, be sure to contact a local conservation agent or Operation Game Thief at 800-392-1111.
And remember, non-Outsiders, hunting laws aren’t just etiquette: they’re the law!
Bonus fun fact: A group of squirrels is a “scurry” or “Dray.” Now you know!