Poaching is something we hear about all too often, in my humble opinion and the state of Minnesota is looking to increase the penalty for poaching animals. The amount of hunting citations and warnings in the state of Minnesota increased by 35% in 2015 and is a driving force behind the push for harsher penalties for unlawfully killing wildlife.

“The recently reported instances of wanton and wasteful poaching in Minnesota should offend the sensibilities of all ethical and law-abiding hunters and anglers,” Gov. Mark Dayton told KSTP.com. “They are shameful criminal acts, and they should be treated as serious offenses by Minnesota laws.”

The governor of Minnesota has also stated that he wants to upgrade certain types of poaching from misdemeanor charges to felony offenses for those who take animals above a restitution value of $2,000.

While many don’t believe these measures will completely illuminate poaching, former Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Tony Cornish believes the capitol will have to hit poachers where it hurts them most.

“The thing that they hold dear is if you take their firearm and take their hunting privilege,” Cornish said.

Even with private organizations such as Turn In Poachers (TIP), the state has been battling a staffing shortage for a number of years. Currently, Minnesota’s DNR has the same number of conservation officers as it did back in the 1940’s.

The increase of poaching penalties is up for debate this week in St.Paul.