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Northern California man fined for poaching, skinning 60 bobcats, foxes

By   /   June 27, 2014  /   3 Comments

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A Northern California man has pleaded guilty to illegally poaching 60 bobcats and gray foxes for their pelts, snaring them in traps he set over 900 square miles in two counties, officials said.

Tracy Lee Shultz of Courtland, south of Sacramento, was fined $5,000 and ordered to forfeit the pelts worth nearly $15,000, the California Department to Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday.

He was also banned from fishing, hunting and trapping or going with others on related trips for a year.

A bobcat was found inside a trap that officials said were among many illegally set by a Courtland man. (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

“The illegal commercialization of wildlife is second only to the illegal trade in drugs and guns for worldwide revenue,” Warden Nick Buckler said in a statement. “There will always be people willing to break laws and exploit wildlife to make money.”

Authorities said Shultz unlawfully trapped bobcats and foxes in remote areas of Lassen and Modoc counties before the season opened on Nov. 24.

He reportedly tagged about 50 live traps, but wasn’t able remove the animals or check them daily, which is required by Fish and Wildlife.

Trapping bobcats for commercial purposes is legal in California, but it must occur during the 70-day open season.

Buckler, a Fish and Wildlife warden for Lassen County, received a tip about Shultz’s traps, so he spent days and nights living in the sage to document his activity.

The furs were eventually sold to a licensed dealer for nearly $15,000.

A Lassen County judge ordered the money be paid to the Lassen County Fish and Game Commission to support lawful hunting and fishing activities.

LATimes | June 27, 2014 | By VERONICA ROCHA

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    What is lost here is Trapping is a Legal activity.

  2. idavidgraficks idavidgraficks says:

    Although a leg trap is illustrated and there was mention of snaring (which are illegal in CA), the bobcat traps are cages with trip plates. As mentioned in the story-the illegal trapper deployed many more traps than he could realistically and legally monitor (once every 24 hrs) and was out of the seventy day season. He got caught. We know many trappers don’t do as they say.

  3. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Poaching is illegal in any case… No one ever said it was right. As a poacher being a law breaker is inclined to use any method or manner to make his kill…. It has nothing to do with legal hunting or trapping.

    We? Yes I suppose you know every hunter and every trapper and know what is in their minds and hearts…. God I admire a guy that can paint with such broad brush strokes.

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