Have you ever heard of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC)? There is no reason you should if you try to obey fishing and hunting regulations. However, one habitual poacher recently got a crash course in the workings of this 20-year-old agreement between state game-and-fish agencies. The 57-year-old Wisconsin man was found guilty of 23 wildlife violations in Montana in December. He was ordered to pay $15,500 in fines and restitution.
Besides losing a boatload of cash, he also got his Montana hunting privileges suspended for nearly 35 years. Not being able to hunt in Montana until he is 92 years old is probably a bitter pill for this guy, but that is the least of his worries, because Montana is only one of 36 IWVC member states. That means that all the other 35 states – including his home state and Missouri – will suspend his hunting privileges, too.
So what? That still leaves 14 states where the infamous poacher can hunt, right? Wrong. Seven other states are in the process of joining the IWVC, so eventually he will be shut out there, too. He will be left with Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Those states’ combined area equals 1.3 percent of the land in the United States. Montana alone has three times the acreage as the seven IWVC nonmember states. Good luck satisfying your hunting urge on that postage stamp.
Getting your privileges suspended isn’t easy. That questionable honor is reserved for deliberate, repeat offenders. Trust me, anyone who gets his privileges suspended for one year, let alone 35, didn’t just trip over an obscure clause in the Wildlife Code.
I don’t know about you, but I find this very comforting. We all know that hunting and fishing regulations are necessary to protect our wild resources. Occasionally we find some of those regulations inconvenient, but we obey them because we want to do our part to protect the sports we love. The idea that others might not be playing by the rules really sticks in our craws. The IWVC is our way of telling poachers to take a hike…to New Jersey, for example!