Poaching is a crime that deserves no leniency.
For that reason, we would advocate the full extent of punishment be levied out against four Vanderbilt men who were arrested in connection with the illegal shooting of a bull elk in Otsego County April 20.
In this instance that would include loss of firearms seized in connection with the arrest, fine of $2,500, restitution up to $1,500 and loss of hunting privileges up to three years.
The successful reintroduction of elk to Michigan by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is one of conservation's exciting success stories. Over the years, through scientific monitoring and management, elk numbers have grown to a sustainable number. While healthy, the herd is not invincible, and any time an elk is killed illegally, it thins the potential gene pool to continue the propagation of the herd.
Poachers are not sportsmen, yet they cast a dark shadow over hunters everywhere who hunt legally and responsibly in the state.
Michigan is blessed with rich natural resources and abundant wildlife. We live in an outdoor paradise. In our estimation, that is all the more reason to preserve this beautiful environment and come down hard on those who threaten to destroy it.