JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House gave approval of a bill that would increase the penalty for poaching.

Rep. Jered Taylor

Under HB 1873, sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, fines for hunting wild turkeys, paddlefish, white-tailed deer, black bears, and elk without a license would increase significantly.   

“Currently, it is cheaper for an individual from out-of-state to not get a hunting permit and take the risk of getting caught,” said Taylor. An out-of-state hunting license is $250 while poaching can result in a fine up to $199, depending on the animal.

“I want to make them think twice before poaching,” Taylor said. “When you poach, you are taking away that resource from the state of Missouri.”

Missouri currently has some of the lowest poaching fines in the nation. Taylor said the “very low fines” were “no deterrent.”

In 2016, a poacher killed a black bear in Missouri and was fined $99.50. The legislation would set the fine for unlawfully killing a black bear or elk at a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $5,000.  

Poaching would care a fine of $375 to $750 for wild turkeys, $500 to $2,000 for paddlefish, and $1,000 to $2,000 for white-tailed deer, under Taylor’s bill.

The legislation passed in a 130-19 vote and now moves to the Senate.