Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Ex-trooper: Poaching rampant in So. W.Va.

kensmall.jpgSince I’m a Logan County native, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on just how widespread deer poaching is in Southern West Virginia.

A recent interview showed I don’t really have a clue.

The interviewee, George Kennedy (pictured), lives in the McDowell County town of Iaeger. He and his brother, Wells, have an 800-acre hunting lease, and they battle constantly to keep poachers out of it.

It helps that George is a retired state trooper. When he moved back to Iaeger after his retirement, he couldn’t believe how much spotlighting went on. “Every night sounded like the Fourth of July,” he said.

He started patrolling his property. He caught three spotlighters in the act — carrying  rifles, spotlights and with deer blood on their hands. Since then he’s had at least two other poachers prosecuted.

Sad thing is, he believes he’s only scratching the surface.

“I’m going to say this because I’m an ex-state trooper,” he said. “For every 700 to 800 deer checked in around here, there are maybe 200 to 300 that aren’t checked in. And of the 700 checked in, maybe half aren’t bow kills. They’re rifle kills passed off as bow kills.”

If true, that doesn’t bode well for the future of trophy buck hunting in the southern counties. Until Division of Natural Resources officials increase the law-enforcement presence down there, it appears poaching will remain rampant.