Pennsylvania Snow Goose Poachers Sentenced, Fined $55,000

posted on June 3, 2015

It's no secret that something has to be done to control the still-burgeoning light goose population. You'd be hard pressed to find a biologist or game warden that would refute that statement. But it's also imperative that we, as responsible hunters and conservationists, do so safely and, you know, legally. That particular point didn't hit home for five waterfowl hunters in Pennsylvania earlier this year, and now they're quite literally paying the price. The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) announced today that five people charged with combining to kill 265 snow geese over the permitted limit all have pleaded guilty to charges and together will pay more than $55,000 in fines and replacement costs.

The five defendants were caught in the act on April 1, 2015, in Myerstown, Pa. Local Wildlife Conservation Officers received word that there'd been an awful lot of shooting going on in the area. Upon arrival, they found evidence that a "large number" of snow geese had been shot. The investigation ultimately concluded that the five defendants had killed a whopping 365 snow geese. Pennsylvania increases—but, unlike some states does not lift—light goose bag limits during the spring conservation order. Each properly licensed hunter is permitted 25 birds, making a number like 365 a whole new definition of "over the limit." If you're doing the math at home, yes, only 100 of the birds are being counted as legal. One of our five culprits didn't have a migratory bird license, so he wasn't permitted to harvest a single snow goose, let alone 25.

It's not hard to imagine how nearby townsfolk might have found the activity suspicious. Even if these guys are quietly the five finest wingshooters to walk this earth, the sheer shot count required to bring down 365 birds had leave the locals looking around for a Gettysburg reenactment.

Recognizing how busted they were, the five defendants have subsequently been pleading guilty without much of a fight. The fifth and final member of the group faced the music on Monday. The four properly licensed hunters were each hit with one count of a violation involving federal laws and 48 counts of unlawful taking and possession of snow geese. They'll all pay $10,040 in fines and replacement costs. The unlicensed hunter (or rather, poacher) took a heftier hit. He pleaded guilty to one count of hunting without a migratory bird license, one count of a violation involving federal laws and 73 counts of unlawful taking and possession of snow geese. His fines totaled $14,990.

Those charges including a processing fee, by the way, and rightfully so. The collected evidence would not go to waste. 288 pounds of goose meat were donated to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg.


Benelli Lupo BE.S.T. Lead
Benelli Lupo BE.S.T. Lead

New for 2022: Benelli Lupo BE.S.T.

The new Lupo BE.S.T. features a premium wood stock that bridges the original Lupo’s precision performance and technological innovation with defined ergonomics and contemporary styling.

First Look: Zeiss DTI 3/25 Thermal Imaging Camera

Zeiss has released the DTI 3/25, its second thermal imaging camera developed especially for hunting.

First Look: Bergara Premier Divide Rifle

Representing a lighter, backcountry-minded version of the Bergara HMR, the Premier Divide bridges the gap between a tactical and hunting rifle, pairing the company's proprietary Cure Carbon Barrel with a custom AG Composites Chalk Branch carbon stock. 

Mojo Outdoors Releases Scoot-N-Shoot Gunner

With turkey season around the corner, Mojo has added the Scoot-N-Shoot Gunner to their turkey lineup.

Browning Ammunition Introduces Pro22 Rimfire

Browning's new Pro22 is the company's latest addition to its ammo lineup, providing target shooters and plinkers with a new high-accuracy option for shooting their favorite rimfire rifle.

New for 2022: Nosler Suppressors

The all-new Nosler Suppressors are designed specifically for hunters to strike an ideal balance between size, light weight, exceptional durability and sound mitigation. 


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.