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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

20 Responses to Utah man sentenced for poaching Nevada bobcats

  1. avatar Tim Z. says:

    $7500 seems like a slap on the wrist. These guys need to do jail time.

  2. avatar malencid says:

    Why do so many poachers come from Utah; why do they get a slap on the wrist? Shouldn’t they at least join Paris Hilton for a few days in jail. Recall that a Utah man poached a trophy elk in Yellowstone some 10 years ago and was arrested again last year for the same thing. Jail time–no.

  3. avatar Brent says:

    Jail? You think a guy poaching bobcats for their pelts is rich? Does he have a family and kids? Maybe the judge took everything into consideration in his ruling. I am pretty sure that $7500 is a huge amount of money to this guy. Ya, lets send hime to jail TIM Z, lets destroy his family, force him to lose his home, and how he makes a living – lets really make him pay. I just want him to not do it again.

  4. I agree. Penalties aren’t stiff enough to deter them from future poaching. This guy did a lot of planning, even purchasing a home in Nevada in order to get a license. Traps, guns etc., should be confiscated, hunting privledges permenently revoked, $7,500 fine per pelt, and some jail time. Because of idiots like him wildlife officials in central Africa, {don’t remember exact location.} are going to catch every rhinoceros and saw off their horns because poachers kill them for the horns. Poachers have killed a good portion of the rhino population and it led to such drastic measures to save them.

  5. Judges need to take poaching more seriously, and so do those who fund law enforcement for those who patrol the outback.

    It’s a matter of political organization to help legislators, members of congress, and judges (especially where they are elected) to see the light.

  6. Brent,
    He probably isn’t rich, but if he has a family he needs to support them in a legal manner.
    I’ll bet he doesn’t have a family. It’s my perception after reading and hearing about major poaching cases that this is not a family oriented business except in the case of criminal poaching families, which there are.
    If it is a criminal family, it needs to be punished/reformed, (whatever one’s rationale for prison is)

    Note: Reading this more closely, it does appear to perhaps been an inadvertent family operation . . . “The defendant’s father, Alan Steele, operates a legitimate fur trading business in Utah and was buying from his son.”

  7. avatar malencid says:

    Well, the guy that poached the elk (Boone & Crockett head) said of his $2000 fine that it was cheaper than hiring an outfitter. Of course, he lost the head but he thought it worth the chance. Seeing that he was caught again 10 years later poaching again, I would say he was not deterred by his first punishment.

  8. avatar kim says:

    cant be too poor, he has a house in utah and a house in Nevada, that he was bogusly claiming residency on,,, does he really sound poor to you?? your gonna need a better excuse to defend him than that

  9. avatar kt says:

    The real question is: How many bobcats has anyone been seeing lately? And how many bobcat tracks? There is a WHOLE LOT of bobcat habitat out there that seems mighty empty, and it’s time for the state wildlife agencies to admit it.

  10. avatar elkhunter says:

    KT, there are lots of bobcats, we see them everywhere, and call them in all the time when were hunting coyotes. We never shoot them of course, we dont have the licenses. But I dont think down here that there is a shortage, not that you see them all the time anyway, pretty secretive. We mainly only see them when we are hunting coyotes.
    As for poaching, I think you guys are trying to stereotype a “poacher” they caught poachers that are CEO’s of companies and have families. They catch poachers that are dirt poor white trash, and they catch poachers in between. And Ralph alot of the time I really doubt that the families truly know what is going on. I know the penalties in UT for killing big-game animals are alot higher, they caught someone recently and he was fined $20,000 lost all hunting privleges in western states for 15 years, confinscated his hunting equpment and truck. So ya I agree I want them to enforce it, I dont think someone should go to jail for 10 years, I think the fines and hunting privleges lost hurt the most.

  11. avatar elkhunter says:

    Take my wife for example, I could go somewhere and poach a deer and elk every year and my wife would have no idea. Has no understanding of how those things work, which is probably the same with alot of men out there that hunt. Its like saying that all “activists” wear tevo’s, drive subaru cars, and grow their hair out, its a stero-type.

  12. avatar Mike Post says:

    Every poacher makes the rest of us hunters look like knuckleheads and makes it easier for legislators to pass restrictive hunting, trapping, and firearms laws. Lock ’em up, take all their stuff, and impose lifetime hunting and fishing bans. It is not just their individual poaching, it is all about their impact on every hunter’s lifestyle and my grandson’s future opportunity to be a hunter.

  13. avatar Bob Ostler says:

    You guys are missing the point. This is not a poaching case, it’s a residency case. If he lived in Nevada what he did was perfectly legal. He bought the required permits, he handled the pelts properly and he was not trapping out of season.

    Here in the west we love killing predators. (We also love claiming residency in neighboring states to avoid paying taxes) I’m actually surprised his actions were a violation of Nevada law. I thought they still paid bounties on coyotes and bobcats. He certainly will be the Nevada Stock Growers Association “Man of the Year” for 2007.

    The elk poacher’s case is a very different situation.

  14. avatar Mike Post says:

    Bob, you miss the point. It is all about ethics. Every state has different laws. It is up to all of us to obey them or lose our priveleges. I pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. I can support turning in tax cheaters just as easily as turning in poachers. I have shot my share of legal coyotes but if they are declared off limits then I won’t. Your comment just made my point about how ill advised comments and the actions of a few will screw the rest of us by providing the anti-hunters and their pandering politicians a leg up on new legislation. Do you really think that the “opposition” is not silently monitering this blog, looking for quotable quotes to support their agenda?

  15. avatar Davej says:

    How are bobcats classified in Nevada? Predator or furbearer? If the poacher had actually been a Nevada resident, how many cats could he take legally?

    Also, when the Nevada officials talk about commercialization of wildlife, isn’t all fur trapping basically just an economic activity?

  16. avatar Bob Ostler says:

    In Nevada Bobcats are classified as furbearers. You are required to have a license and abide by certain trapping regulations. You are also required to have the pelt of every bobcat “sealed” by the Nevada Department of Wildlife and pay $5. There is a trapping season but no limit on the number of animals you can take. The individual in this case abided by all the regulations except that he wasn’t a legal resident of Nevada, which is required. As I mentioned in my original post, this is much more a residency issue than a poaching one. He was not sneaking around in the dead of night whacking protected animals out of season or in closed areas. I am certainly NOT defending him. What he did was illegal, but to my way of thinking not comparable to someone killing an elk or sheep in Yellowstone or shooting big bucks on their winter range. This is what I usually think of when I hear the word poaching.

    I also found the game warden’s comments about taking animals that “belong to the people of Nevada” just a bit disingenuous. It would be my guess that every one of the 150 or so bobcats was trapped on Federal land and thus belong to the all the people of the United States. What “legally” belongs to the people of Nevada is the right to kill these animals.

  17. Thanks for clarifying the legal status of the bobcat in Nevada. I agree that most of the penalty came from his misrepresentation of his residency, and the severity of the penalty is mostly due to the application of the Lacey Act, one of the first federal wildlife protection acts that was passed in the early 20th century to help states enforce their fish and game laws when those guilty crossed state boundaries.

    I think, however, that a lot of people are appalled that he killed so many bobcats.

    I have to ask “elkhunter,” who says he sees lots of bobcats in Utah, what did this guy from Utah set up his operation in Nevada?

  18. avatar Davej says:

    Its riduculous that one person could legally take that many bobcats. I have no particular knowledge of Nevada’s situation, but most of the Western states have no idea what’s going on with bobcat populations.
    Forget the residency requirments, the real story here is the continued lack of carnivore population data (and lack of interest in getting that data) throughout the West.

  19. avatar Bob Ostler says:

    The total take for the 2005-2006 trapping season (latest data available) was 1,181 bobcats legally taken and reported to Nevada wildlife This was up from the mid 800s the previous few years. Nevada reports an increase in the number of trappers afield and a larger harvest account higher prices for pelts. It is expected that ’06/’07 harvest data will continue to reflect an increase.

  20. avatar Trevor says:

    poaching is bad there should be striker law agaist it

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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