Conservationists push for stricter poaching laws in Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Conservationists and lawmakers dissatisfied with Missouri's anti-poaching laws believe the current fines and penalties do little to prevent the act.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Missouri's fines cover a range of wildlife code violations, from importing a live prohibited species into the state to taking a deer from a public roadway. No fines exceed $300 plus court costs, a factor that supporters of stiffer penalties believe leads to a large number of poaching cases.

Conservation agents have detected a total of nearly 74,000 wildlife code violations over the last three years while on patrol. Agents say that of those violations, they've taken action on less than 22,000.

Some lawmakers have tried passing legislation to increase poaching fines but failed. One lawmaker says he plans to re-file a bill in January.