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DNR wardens actively pursue poachers

Poaching incident reports from public have increased

St. Croix County residents who jumped the gun in an attempt to thin the huge deer heard in Wisconsin have been keeping game wardens busy.

DNR Wardens Rick Rosen and Paul Sickman, who operate out of the DNR Service Center in Baldwin, have caught and arrested a number of poachers recently, most for illegally shining and killing deer at night with gun or bow.

"I don't know if there are more poachers than usual," said Rosen, "But tips from the public have definitely increased."

"The public has been very cooperative and calling in more," said Sickman.

Sickman said that with the entire county to cover, he and Rosen can't be everywhere and information from the public has been very helpful.

"It's not very often you catch somebody red handed, but we have been able to do that, he said.

Rosen said that any bit of information can help lead to the arrest of a poacher. "The information is kept confidential by law when you call the toll free tip line."

Rosen and Sickman didn't release the names of the most recent arrests because the persons have yet to face the charges in court. They did display an array of confiscated equipment from a recent three-week period that included three rifles, two bows, and several spotlights with an estimated worth of more than $2,000.

"The way to get these guys attention more than a fine is to seize their equipment," said Rosen. However, he admitted in one case, the poacher was arrested for the seventh time and his hunting privileges had been suspended from previous violations.

They also seized a trophy set of deer antlers taken by a poacher in the Town of Erin Prairie. The buck was over 200 pounds and scored 180 by an early estimate," said Rosen. "That was really sad."

Sickman said the buck was well known in the area and people have called the DNR office asking for a look at the antlers.

However, the busiest time of year is yet to come. The game wardens Super Bowl week is the 10 day gun-season that starts Saturday and continues through Nov. 25.

Rosen said he expects poaching incidents and game violations to increase with the gun season.

The state DNR office estimates the 2007 herd in Wisconsin between 1.6 million and 1.8 million animals. Hunters have killed an averaged of 460,000 deer a year over the last decade.

In the meantime, the local DNR wardens urge the public to report any suspected illegal activity by calling the office in Baldwin at 715-684-5940 or the tip hotline at 1-800-847-9367.