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The illegal shooting, trapping, or taking of game or fish from private or public property.

The poaching of game and fish was made a crime in England in the seventeenth century, as aristocratic landowners sought to preserve their shooting and property rights. Poor peasants did most of the poaching to supplement their diets with meat and fish.

In the United States, poaching was not considered a serious problem meriting legal measures before the twentieth century, because vast expanses of undeveloped land contained abundant sources of fish and game. The increased cultivation of land and the growth of towns and cities reduced wildlife habitats in the twentieth century. In the early 1900s, the U.S. conservation movement arose with an emphasis on preserving wildlife and managing the fish and game populations. Wildlife preserves and state and national parks were created as havens for wild animals, many of which were threatened with extinction.

Because of these changing circumstances, restrictions were placed on hunting and fishing. State game and fish laws now require persons to purchase licenses to hunt and fish. The terms of these licenses limit the kind and number of animals or fish that may be taken and restrict hunting and fishing to designated times of the year, popularly referred to as hunting and fishing seasons.

Therefore, persons who fail to purchase a license, as well as those who violate the terms of their licenses, commit acts of poaching. Most poaching in the United States is done for sport or commercial profit. Rare and endangered species, which are protected by state and federal law, are often the targets of poachers.

Poaching laws are enforced by game wardens, who patrol state and national parks and respond to violations on private property. Poachers are subject to criminal laws, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Penalties may include steep fines, jail sentences, the Forfeiture of any poached game or fish, the loss of hunting and fishing license privileges for several years, and the forfeiture of hunting or fishing equipment, boats, and vehicles used in the poaching.


Endangered Species Act; Environmental Law; Fish and Fishing.


the crime of taking game or other specified beasts and trespassing so to do. It is criminalized by, among other enactments, the Night Poaching Act 1828, the Game Laws (Amendment) Act 1960 and the Deer Act 1980.
References in periodicals archive ?
ACTOR Salman Khan had come prepared to plead innocence in the blackbuck poaching case being heard in Jodhpur court, but the chief judicial magistrate managed to stump with his very first question.
Environmentalists and civil activists have repeatedly pointed at the poaching cases in the republic.
Because the whole business of poaching and trafficking in ivory is actually a cartel and poachers are just one link of the chain.
Thousands of one-horned rhinos once roamed the plains of Nepal and northern India, but their numbers plunged over the past century due to poaching and human encroachment of their habitat.
So far, though, the organized-crime network behind the poaching and illegal trade remains intact, Wasser says.
Now, 10 to 20 poaching cases a year are the norm; four years ago, his office logged 32 cases.
Wally Herbst, chairman of the Wildlife Producers' Association in Nyamandlovu, said there was an increase in poaching with vehicles being used.
Gardai and fishery boards are planning to target poaching hot-spots around the country.
Fortunately, there is a simpler way of poaching and winning free points.
From the 1970s through the early 1990s, the international community became increasingly concerned about the illegal poaching of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and rhinos (Rhinocerotidae).
But enforcement is difficult, and poaching is common.