Poachers ‘Stole’ 1,153 Animals From 2021’s Law-Abiding Hunters in Utah Alone

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Digital Light Source/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Authorities in the state of Utah have announced some pretty shocking news — poachers in the state are responsible for killing more than 1,000 animals in 2021.

Utahns value wildlife very highly. There’s no question about that. So, you know that their stomachs are turning after hearing that poaching is still happening in the state at such a high rate. In just the last year alone, poachers took out a total of 1,153 wild animals. The estimated value lost? More than $6,000.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced the troubling news on Thursday. 2021 marked at least the third year in a row in which the number of poached animals rose. On the top of that list, of course, is deer, with more than 180 poached last year. And no hunter wants to hear this, but that figure includes 34 “trophy” bucks that were taken illegally. Following right behind deer were elk, with 113 poached, including 18 trophy elk.

Meanwhile, the long-winded poaching list also includes 17 mountain lions, 11 bears, five moose, one bighorn sheep, and 374 fish. The state explained the situation in more detail in a recent press release.

“The remaining illegally killed wildlife include a variety of small game animals, waterfowl, and a variety of other wildlife species,” the DWR stated.

The state also announced that they issued more than 4,300 citations during the last year. Not only that, but they also suspended the hunting or fishing license of 48 different hunters.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, and everyday residents to enjoy,” said DWR Capt. Chad Bettridge. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.”

In 2020, there were slightly fewer (1,079) animals poached illegally in the state.

Fines for Poachers in the State of Utah

Don’t think that poaching in the state of Utah doesn’t come without any consequences. If caught, poachers face extremely steep consequences. Some may pay fines and restitution. Others may have their hunting or fishing equipment confiscated along with the loss of their licenses. And more serious offenders may even face jail time.

When it comes to Utah’s trophy animals, the State legislature has set the following amounts as minimum restitution:

  • $30,000 for bighorn sheep (desert or Rocky Mountain)
  • $8,000 for deer (24-inch antler spread or larger)
  • $8,000 for elk (with six points on at least one side)
  • $6,000 for moose or mountain goat
  • $6,000 for bison
  • $2,000 for pronghorn

You can read more about that on the state’s website.

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