For Sale: Montana's Public Wildlife
The results of a major poaching investigation, Operation Palmetto-Peach, in eastern Montana.
As with so much other crime, money is often the motivation behind poaching. In the 1980s, most poachers were people shooting deer or elk for meat, or maybe someone taking advantage of an opportunity like seeing an elk in a field after the season had closed. But over the last 20 years, greed has driven a new breed of poachers to line their wallets with Montana's wildlife. And we're seeing record-book heads that can sell for $30,000 to $40,000 or even more.
With that kind of money at stake, a growing number of people are willing to do whatever it takes to put large racks in the hands of wealthy clients. What we're seeing is the intersection of big antlers with big egos. There's a growing interest across the county in having a big trophy on the wall—no matter how it's taken—and that's what's driving a lot of the poaching in Montana.