The Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Interim Committee is holding a meeting in Thermopolis tomorrow/Tuesday to discuss two bills that would strengthen state poaching laws. The first bill would make it illegal to knowingly sell, barter, trade, or buy such animals. The second would specify fines based on the economic value of the poached animal.
Bruce Burns is the Committee’s Senate Chair. He said the legislature didn’t come up with the new guidelines on their own, but received input from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
“They felt that this legislation would help them better enforce the wildlife laws currently on the books. And looking at it I happen to agree with them,” said Burns.
Up until now, Wyoming has relied on federal poaching laws. But Burns said that since the state of Wyoming is the economically injured party, it makes sense for it to have the power to better prosecute violators.
“So if somebody poaches a particular area of wildlife it reduces the amount of wildlife Game and Fish can allow to be hunted by more legitimate hunters, so there is an economic consequence to the state by poachers,” said Burns.
If accepted, the two bills would become effective July 1, 2015.