Wildlife officials report no noticeable spike in poaching activity in the greater Four Corners of late.
While the declining economy has triggered a flurry of illegal hunting and fishing in coastal states like California and Florida, there's no indication it's increased poaching in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico or Arizona.
There's poaching, for sure, in the Southwest.
And in Wyoming and Montana and Idaho and Nevada, etc.
But most regional poaching is related more to trophy takes or antler harvests, according to state wildlife representatives from Creede to Kremmling and Pinedale to Phoenix.
"Most of the poaching these days (in Colorado) is for the antlers or the (trophy) heads," said Joe Lewandowski of the Durango office of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
"We haven't seen anything to indicate an increase in poaching activity ... with the (current) economy. But there is a huge black market for things like antlers," Lewandowski said.
The trophy kills, taken out of season or in another illegal manner, also keep the law enforcement divisions of the respective state wildlife agencies busy, from Colorado and throughout the West.
"Poaching used to be about the meat, but now it's about the huge market for antlers and heads. It's ... not necessarily about the meat," Lewandowski said.
"Poaching is also very hard to ... track and document. It's difficult to study," he said.
In a couple of recent regional cases, a Utah guide and a Cortez taxidermist were sentenced after pleading guilty to poaching charges in Southwest Colorado.
Paul Ray Weyand of Cortez, who pleaded guilty to three counts last March, was sentenced Dec. 30 by U.S. District Court Judge Walker D. Miller in Denver.
Weyand was sentenced to three years probation with six months of home detention (suspended jail sentence) for violating the federal charges.
He also was fined $2,000 and ordered to provide 50 hours of community service. He had been indicted by a grand jury last August after an extended investigation by the National Fish and Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
His co-defendant, Utah guide Eric Leon Butt Jr., was sentenced to a year in prison and three years probation for his part in the illegal taking of wildlife. He was linked to illegal takes of two deer, two black bears and four elk in Southwest Colorado over a four-year period. Butt is from Herriman, Utah.
Other publicized poaching incidents recently include the shooting of a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram in Mineral County, near Creede, last fall.
And there was the Michigan man who was fined $15,000 after being convicted last year of three charges related to killing a Colorado mountain goat without a license.
Burt Vincent, of Jackson, Mich., also was handed lifetime suspensions of his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado, Michigan and 28 other states - states that share mutual hunting/fishing restriction policies.
Another intriguing case, wrapped up in 2007, featured a man who was charged, convicted and sentenced for illegally taking 124 bobcats in Nevada.
Colorado, and most Western states, offer cash rewards for the public's information on illegal hunting and fishing.
In Colorado, it's Operation Game Thief at toll-free (877) 265-6648 or e-mail game.thief@ state.co.us.