Governor Mike Parson, along with the state legislature and Department of Conservation have taken action to increase penalties for poaching throughout the state. The Governor signed House Bill 260 into law on July 11. The fines for illegal hunting will take effect on August 28, 2019. The new bill is referred to the poaching bill, and it will greatly increase fines for illegally killing certain animals. Fines will be in excess of 10 and $15,000 for killing elk or black bear illegally. Those who kill a White Tail dear illegally will be fined $1,000-$5,000 Those who, kill a turkey or paddle fish will be fined an additional $500 to $1,000. Missouri Department of Conservation officials say, the fines are considered restitution payments for poaching game animals and are ordered by a judge. The money from the fines will go to the state’s school fund. The restitution payments are in addition to other fines and penalties for violating the Wildlife Code of Missouri. MDC records indicate that 547 wild turkeys, 58 paddlefish and 4,731 deer were illegally taken, or poached, in 2017 and 2018. Department officials are also investigating the poaching of five elk over the past several years. Black bear poaching incidents are a growing concern as well. Anyone with information on poaching cases is asked to call Operation Game Thief.