According to the Humane Society of the United States, legal hunting is responsible for the deaths of literally tens of millions of wildlife animals each year. If this figure is already beyond comprehension, consider this: illegal hunters poach just as many animals as legit ones. As a result, the wildlife population is depleting at twice the rate the law intends, causing an environmental disaster that game wardens continue to struggle against.
Of course, hunters may poach for wide-ranging reasons. Some kill animals out of the need to provide food for their struggling family or mistakenly trespass on prohibited property. Yet, there is a whole another category of poachers which game wardens in Montana call “1-percenters” or “lone wolves.” These 1-percenters are distinctive in their unrelenting drive to serial poach trophy wildlife.
In an effort to help fellow game wardens identify and stop these 1-percenters, a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional investigator Bryan Golie starting documenting serial poacher attributes to create a rough profile.
Golie was recently quoted in an article published by the Missoulian as saying, “I’ve caught a few of these individuals over the years and I began to realize there are certain personal characteristics that mirror each other. By understanding who these individuals are, what makes them unique and the devastation they cause to our wildlife, it makes other poaching look like a joke.”
Through his research, Golie has determined that most serial poachers:
- Center their lives around fishing and hunting, but mainly on hunting
- Settle on a profession that provides enough time to pursue hunting goals
- Establish connections with game wardens and other authorities
- Are self-serving, manipulative, and anxious
- Have trouble maintaining relationships
- Abstain from drugs and alcohol
- Have a history of domestic abuse and petty crimes
- Rely heavily on enabling family ties
- Brag about their hunting trophy but hide its illegal procurement
- Are physically fit
- Possess top-quality gear
- Have no siblings
- Are male