Posted by Kerry Grissett on October 19, 2002 at 22:58:28:
I was browsing another message board and noticed a thread about limiting fishermen to 3 poles in Tennessee. The gist was that there were/are folks taking crappie out of their waters in numbers greater than the legal limit. The proposed 3 pole limit, in some folks minds, is supposed to stop this problem.
The offense is not the number of poles you use, but whether or not you follow the creel limit laws. A lack of enough enforcement officers in the field is the real problem. Did you know that here in Alabama there are only 2 game wardens per county? Maybe less than that in some counties. Did you know that right now, during the start of prime crappie season, hunting seasons are also opening up and the game wardens are spending most of their time following the folks with the guns not the rods and reels?
Don't get me wrong. I am not faulting the game wardens completely. They are really doing the best they can with the limited number of officers they have. But, there is no way to enforce all the game and fish laws with the small numbers of officers we have here in Alabama. The "avid poachers" know this and so does the "average joe" who takes over the limit or undersized fish. Now to the topic of this post.
What is a poacher? Anyone who takes game or fish outside the limits of the law. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse and I seldom see anyone breaking the creel limits who doesn't know that they are breaking them. They simply know they have little chance of being caught.
Are YOU a poacher? If you have ever taken undersized fish, more fish than the legal daily limit or taken fish or game outside the limits of the fish and game laws, then, yes, YOU ARE A POACHER!
There is NO excuse for poaching. Please report ALL poachers. Even with the limited number of officers in the field, if enough of us report every instance of poaching we see, no matter how small, we might have a chance of getting the necessary enforcement we need.
Good luck and good fishin'
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