Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would deter poaching by increasing the fine and mandating that repeat poachers lose their hunting and fishing licenses.

House Bill 2573, by state Rep. Pat Ownbey, would make the penalty for a first offense a fine of $500 to $1,500. The legislation makes the penalty for a second offense a fine of $1,500 to 2,500, six months in county jail or both and mandates the loss of the poacher’s hunting and fishing licenses for 1 to 10 years.

“Several of my constituents had problems with repeat poachers on their land, partly because of how weak the current minimum fine is,” said Ownbey (R-Ardmore). “One constituent had a horse shot. This is a huge problem and we need a penalty that matches the crime. We’ve got to do a better job of deterring poachers.”

House Bill 2573 was approved by a vote of 61-33 and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration. 

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