I went to school and was friends with a kid we later nicknamed Poacher Pat
He had an obsession with “having” to break the law. If the limit was 25 crappies, he couldn’t help himself and stop there, he always had to keep a few more. Same with ducks, he wasn’t done hunting until he had seven or eight.
He was a friend, and his violations that I knew of were pretty minor so I never turned him in.
He told stories about shining deer by the UP and shooting them, but I never witnessed it and always thought he was embellishing some.
When we were in our early 20’s, Pat got a job working with an excavating company in the cities. It was a bit of a drive from Wisconsin, but the pay was good (a lot of us did the same thing and still do right out of highschool).
One day they were on a new development and a HUGE buck walked behind the backhoe. It was a suburban deer acting extra stupid during the rut (archery season was open).
The next day, without thinking or any restraint, he brought his bow with to work…..
The buck came on the job site again, just as he did the day before. Pat ran to his car and grabbed his bow, then proceeded to shoot the giant buck right in front of the whole crew.
The deer ran off and ended up dying in someone’s backyard…He hurriedly dragged the deer back into the woods for the day and covered it up with leaves. At the end of the day he got his car as close as he could and stuffed it into his backseat, he said tried the trunk first but the rack was so big it wouldn’t allow the trunk to close lol
Being dark out now, he wasn’t worried about getting busted on his drive back home to Wisconsin.
When he got home, he had his Dad tag the deer for him (Pat had already filled his WI archery tag). They went and registered it in town and had a story already made up
They cut up the buck that night and dropped the head and cape off the next day at the taxidermist.
Of course this entire time he had to blab the story to everyone he knew, myself included. Even though the buck was huge, none of us were impressed with how the event went down. At the same time none of us were going to turn him in since he was a friend, they were going to eat the deer, and it was tagged (albeit illegally).
I asked him why he didn’t just buy a MN tag and shoot it somewhat “legally” (other than being in city limits). He responded, f-that, that would be a waste of money…
As you could imagine, a couple days later he and his Dad heard a knock at the door. It was a couple guys in green uniforms, one with a Wisconsin badge, the other with a Minnesota badge.
They blew Pat and his Dad’s story out of the water, confiscated the meat and bow on site, then went to the taxidermist and confiscated the head.
A few weeks later they had their day in court. Pat figured he would get a slap on the wrist and a couple hundred dollar fine.
Well…as it turns out…since he was too cheap to buy a MN tag to kill the deer, he and his Dad both violated the Lacey Act by bringing an un-tagged illegally killed animal across state lines
All of Pat’s hunting and fishing privileges were revoked for 3 YEARS in Wisconsin, Minnesota and pretty much anywhere else worth going to hunt and fish.
His Dad was let off a little lighter, and was revoked for just one year if I remember right.
Moral of the story, poaching doesn’t pay. A short burst of joy and adrenaline can cost you years of enjoyment and thousands of dollars.
To this day Pat’s buck can be seen on the WI DNR Wall-of-Shame display that travels the state.
Nobody knew who turned him in, but he always figured it was one of the guys on his crew who witnessed him killing it (and was most likely the case).