There’s a proposal in Pennsylvania to make poaching a felony level offense under some circumstances.Â I can’t agree with this:
House Bill 97, sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee chairman Edward Staback, proposes to do just that for a variety of wildlife violations. The 21-page bill would create felony-level offenses, with the possibility of imprisonment, for significant poaching activity. The bill, which was introduced and referred to the Game and Fisheries Committee on Jan. 28, has 23 co-sponsors, none of whom is a local elected official.
â€œThis [bill] would elevate the punishment for those who willfully steal Pennsylvaniaâ€™s wildlife resources to the same degree as any other major theft offenses,â€ said Carl Roe, Game Commission executive director. â€œPresently, such violations are classified as summary offenses, which are on par with a traffic ticket.â€
The most it ought to be is a low misdemeanor.Â One hangup the sponsor has is the fact that NRA would not back the bill with language in it to confiscate the firearms of poachers.Â That has now been taken out.Â I hope the NRA will not back this bill even without the language in it.Â Anyone found guilty of felony poaching will have all their firearms confiscated for life, because they will become prohibited under federal law.
I don’t have a problem with certain, more serious poaching offenses being a low level misdemeanor, but not a felony.Â Poaching is often something done by young people with poor judgement.Â People shouldn’t have their lives ruined by it.