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Missouri Poaching Case Raises Questions about Modest Penalty

The Missouri Department of Conservation

Missouri conservation advocates say the case of a man who received a modest fine for killing a black bear shows why the state Legislature should put more teeth in poaching penalties.

The Springfield News-Leader reports 40-year-old Chris Keown of House Springs shot the bear with a muzzle-loading rifle around May 2 in a heavily wooded area near his home.

Missouri Department of Conservation agent Larry Yamnitz says Keown is a convicted felon but wasn't charged with illegally possessing a gun because antique muzzle-loaders aren't considered firearms under federal law.

Keown pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was assessed $203 in fines and costs.

Missouri state Rep. Linda Black filed a bill in the recent legislative session that would have boosted penalties for poachers, but it didn't get a hearing..

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