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Poaching: The Real Gateway Drug

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This is your brain on poaching.

Is poaching is the “gateway drug” to antisocial behavior?

A few months ago, we here at Popular Outdoorsman noted that there are very good reasons why you ought to suspect poachers of doing worse things, too. Poaching is the polar opposite of the way ethical hunters think and behave. It also seems to be a “gateway drug” for many; since there are small pockets of our society that turn a blind eye to poaching, it gives those with evil intent a way to exercise and get familiar with doing wrong. On March 3, Vermont State Game Wardens added another reason to the list with a shocking bust.

Like Al Capone, who wound up being taken down by the IRS for not paying his taxes, the poachers in question were already suspected of doing worse. However, the “foot in the door” that authorities needed was provided by those wildlife violations. It began with the Vermont State Game Wardens executing a search warrant for evidence of illegally killed whitetail deer. The warrant also included illegally possessed guns.

What’s interesting about that is that Vermont is a strongly pro-2A state (in its own Yankee way). It was one of the first states to enact Constitutional concealed-carry laws, for example. In order to be suspected of having illegal guns, the “haver” needs to have felonies in his or her background.

When the Game Wardens entered, they and the collaborating agencies seized seven firearms and approximately 3,000 rounds of ammunition alleged to have been illegally possessed, as well as approximately 880 bags of suspected heroin and fentanyl and a large amount of U.S. currency. (Along with Vermont State Game Wardens, collaborating law enforcement included Special Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, and the Vermont State Police.)

“This case is a great example of the cooperation between the Vermont Warden Service and its state and federal partners in law enforcement,” said Game Warden Colonel Jason Batchelder. “This is an on-going investigation and further information will be forthcoming at an appropriate time.”

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