Wanton Destruction of Wildlife | Poaching
The legal term for poaching is “wanton destruction of wildlife” and the offense can range between a minor misdemeanor and a serious felony. Whether it is a felony or misdemeanor all depends on the value, as proscribed by statute, of the protected wildlife that was captured, injured, or destroyed. Basically if the aggregate value of the protected wildlife is $500 or more, it is a felony; more than $250 but less than $500, a class A misdemeanor; $250 and less, a class B misdemeanor. Likewise, if it is a trophy animal, it is an automatic felony.
Values of Protected Wildlife
The value of trophy animals are: $30,000 for bighorn, desert, or rocky mountain sheep; $8,000 for deer; $8,000 for elk; $6,000 for moose or mountain goats; $6,000 for bison; and $2,000 for pronghorn antelope.
For non-trophy animals the values are
- $1,000 for bison, bighorn sheeps, rocky mountain goats, moose, bears, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and endangered species;
- $750 for elk and threatened species;
- $500 for cougars, golden eagles, river otters, and gila monsters;
- $400 for pronghorns and deer;
- $350 for bobcats;
- $100 for swans, sandhill cranes, turkey, pelican, loon, egrets, herons, raptors, Utah milk snake, and Utah mountain king snakes;
- $10-$25 for different types of fish; and
- $15 for game birds.