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Evil Poacher

"Whoever hits the most manatees wins!"
Hoggish Greedly, Captain Planet and the Planeteers

Be aware! The wild is just filled with Evil Poachers willing to murder any human who gets in their way. Poaching means any illegal hunting, but Hollywood poachers only hunt endangered species, such as cute panda babies or meddling kids.

Many Evil Poachers have no motivation to hunt and threaten people other than to be evil. They are like the evil polluters in Captain Planet who never manufacture anything. If Evil Poachers do get a motive, it will probably be selling their prey on the Black Market.

Evil Poachers are Villains By Default in a Kids Wilderness Epic, a genre in which they tend to end up as slapstick idiots dressed in scary animal skins.

In Real Life, most poachers are poor people trying to get out of poverty; they are unable to afford a license. This is also a major reason why poor poachers will often target endangered animals - the rarity of their parts increases the value. However, they do often shoot at park rangers if they encounter them (they're the reason why most rangers in Africa are heavily armed) and are often hired by people in organized crime. There are some illegal trophy hunters as well, ranging from amateurs hunting without a license and off-season to wanting the glory of getting a rare animal.

The inversion, Roguish Poacher, is most common in older works, particularly fairy tales and Folk Music. The Roguish Poacher always hunts for food (usually for his starving family) and lives in a Peter Rabbit-vs-Farmer MacGregor kind of relationship with the Evil Fatcat Landowner. Compare Karmic Thief.

A sister trope to the Egomaniac Hunter. Compare with Cruella to Animals. Contrast the Hunter Trapper, who hunts and traps legally and is much more likely to be reasoned with, the Roguish Poacher, this guy's Justified Criminal counterpart, and the Great White Hunter, the heroic counterpart.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Viper Snakely in Kimba the White Lion. Known as Hamegg in the original manga.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha - One of the reasons why the Time-Space Administration Bureau's Frontier Nature Conservation Corps exists is the presence of poachers who disregard the nature protection laws. One of them even tried to put a bullet between the eyes of a 13-year-old officer when she arrived to arrest him in Sound Stage X. Granted, said officer was patrolling the grounds on a giant dragon and had a partner who could deflect bullets, but still...
  • Shaman King - Horohoro runs into a trio of poachers. This horrible encounter changes his whole perspective on life.
  • Pokémon - Since the setting of the series involves people catching many creatures for various reasons (most often to use in official sports competitions or as pets and companions) as a way of life, it has to designate its Evil Poachers differently:
    • An easy way to spot a poacher is if he is using any tools beyond a Poké Ball. If he is using a Poké Ball, is it a regular Poké Ball or a modified one that never misses its capture (like Mewtwo's balls (though he wasn't specifically an Evil Poacher) or the Dark Balls used by the Iron Masked Marauder? Are they attempting to capture more than one Pokémon of a certain type at a time, outside of a designated Safari Zone? And most obviously, does the targeted Pokémon clearly belong to someone else?
    • Team Rocket often poaches, for example in the Safari Zone episode. There was also a trio of poachers that caused Larvitar to be separated from its mom, and the one Team Rocket fought who was capturing Poison-type Pokémon in this way; Arbok and Weezing were let go to help them when the Pokémon were freed.
    • However, most poachers shown capture Pokémon to sell them illegally, which fits in with the real life version of poaching. An episode of the series actually showed this a tad lighter by having a poacher reform.
  • Toriko has these by the dozen, since certain foods could be hunted to extinction, but the most dangerous of these are the Gourmet Corp.

    Comics 
  • Evil poachers killed Sable's family in Jon Sable, Freelance, starting off his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Col. Werner Dachsund in Proof hunts cryptids (the extremely endangered species that the protagonists' organization, The Lodge, exists to protect) for sport and eats them. Many cryptids are sentient, which doesn't deter him in the slightest. In fact, his main goal in the arc is to hunt the Lodge's star agent, John Prufrock (a.k.a. Bigfoot).
  • Modesty Blaise:
    • The dolphin hunter Gaspar in the arc "Dossier on Pluto".
    • The poachers in "Million Dollar Game".
  • A common foe in Jungle Jim.
  • Evil poachers were a common foe in Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
  • In Shaman's Tears, the first criminals Joshua Brand stops after gaining his powers were poachers who were stealing wild horses from the Indian reservation to sell for pet food.
  • The Punisher once runs into two of these guys while rescuing a Mafia don from a South American prison camp so the don can call a meeting, ensuring Frank can kill a crapload of Mafia higher-ups. We know they're evil because they spend a page explaining, to each other, that they will torture whatever animal they caught in their nets before selling it to the highest bidder.

    Fan Works 
  • Clan Fletching in The Tainted Grimoire has been poaching creatures for profit. Though one of them decided to cooperate with the authorities when told that his daughter, whom he is doing this for, might not be able to look at him should she discover what he is doing. The other two, however, play this completely straight.
  • Jake England, EVIL POACHER is literally called this in Dave Stdider Pokemon Traner.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Rescuers Down Under brings us Percival C. McLeach, voiced by George C. Scott. That's him pictured up above, as well as the lyrics to the cheery little ditty he sings. Did we mention he has a scope shotgun? Now there's a guy who loves to see the faces of his victims before he riddles them full of holes...
  • Clayton from Disney's Tarzan combines attributes of the Evil Poacher and Egomaniac Hunter.
  • Charles Muntz from Up.
  • The villains of The Wild Thornberrys Movie are Evil Poachers. They're also perfectly willing to kidnap and murder kids just to be able to keep poaching endangered African wildlife.
  • The Big Bad of Rio is a poacher named Marcel. However, he's played rather realistically in that while he's a bad guy, he's not an outright evil sadist who loves hurting animals; he's just greedy and uncaring about the animals' well being. He poaches to get money, not because he likes to see birds suffer. His cockatoo, on the other hand...
  • Bambi
    • There is still much controversy as to whether the faceless human hunters are meant to be seen as villains at all - though they're certainly antagonists. The implication of the film itself seems to be that they are more stupid and insensitive than truly bloodthirsty, leaving their campfire burning so that it destroys almost the entire forest.
  • Amos Slade from The Fox and the Hound is a rare aversion, as he only poaches once in the movie, but that is entirely out of revenge.
  • Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. It's universally suggested that he's the hunter who shot Bambi's mother (as her head was seen mounted during his song).

    Films — Live Action 
  • Perry from Alaska, who's Establishing Character Moment was to taunt a caged up polar bear cub with its mother's hollowed out carcass.
  • One of the most iconic examples that fall under this trope is the Predator. An alien evil poacher at that. And this is taken to the Nth level considering one of their more favored targets.
    • There's no reason to call him a poacher. The whole hunt could was quite possibly completely legal from his species' POV.
  • Inverted in Crocodile Dundee — the title character is a "croc poacher".
    • Dundee's job was actually to catch dangerous crocodiles that represented a threat to humans. However, in the first movie, this trope is played straight with a group of poachers who are illegally spotlighting kangaroos for fun before Dundee uses a kangaroo disguise and a high-powered rifle to turn the tables on them.
  • The main bad guys in the 1998 Mighty Joe Young remake.
  • The military in almost all monster films, e.g. Godzilla, King Kong Lives, etc. They want to kill the monster which is one of a kind, and thus very rare and very endangered.
    • They tend to differ from the norm in two ways: they have reasons beyond being evil or selling things on the black market, and their actions tend to be at least semi-legal.
  • The hunter from Jumanji, although he preferred to hunt the deadliest of game.
  • In Anaconda, Paul Sarone is a Paraguayan former priest who decided to become a snake poacher in the Amazon instead, capturing them for rich clients. It's revealed that he's been manipulating the whole crew from the beginning and was using them to capture the Anaconda.

    Literature 
  • Inverted in the Roald Dahl book Danny, the Champion of the World where the poacher, Danny's father, is a good guy and a Guile Hero, showing a germ of the character of Fantastic Mr. Fox. The bad guy is the man who owns the land they live on, who is a pompous, heartless, cruel man. It probably helps that the animals being poached are pheasants being readied for an upcoming hunt, and so are due to die whatever happens. Moreover, England has a bit of a cultural trope about the hearty countryman who is not above a little poaching now and then. It also helps that the father came up with increasingly clever ways of going about it and the landlord kept trying to find more and more trivial ways to force the family to sell their gas station that you have to root for them, regardless of your stance on hunting, trespassing, and poaching.
  • Carter the Poacher in the Discworld novels is another example of the anti-trope.
  • The Island Trilogy by Gordon Korman - the poacher villains in the second and third books are pretty evil. They are ready to kill a starving, shipwrecked 14 year old who is willing to keep quiet until they realize he's worth a ton of money.
  • Malevil has Wahrwoorde. He forced this family to live in backwards squalor in a swamp, is cruel to his son and mother-in-law, raped his step-daughters, and plots to murder the inhabitants of Malevil to steal the castle stronghold for himself.
  • In the fifth Trixie Belden book, Mystery Off Glen Road, Trixie and Honey think there's a crazy, unicycle-riding poacher poaching the deer in Honey's father's game preserve.
  • Subverted in Old Tin Sorrows, in which a butchered fawn is discovered on the Stantnor estate and thought to be the handiwork of a poacher. Even a war-hardened veteran is dismayed that anyone would hunt such a young animal. It's actually a ruse staged by a serial murderer to lure some of the estate's staff onto a wild goose chase.
  • Although not blatantly evil, Quint from the novel Jaws outraged his companions when he revealed he'd illegally killed a pregnant dolphin.
  • Damon Kronski from the Artemis Fowl series leads a faction called the Extinctionists, which aims to hunt as many endangered species as possible to extinction. They claim that their reason for doing this is to make humans re-channel the resources they spend on preserving endangered animals into improving the lot of their own species, but Artemis considers them a collective of bored, rich snobs who consider killing to be just another form of entertainment they can buy.

    Live Action TV 

    Music 
  • Inverted with the traditional English folk song "The Lincolnshire Poacher".
  • And in "Longdog" by Show Of Hands, inspiring the band's Fan Community Nickname. A longdog is a variety of sighthound popular with hare- and rabbit-coursers, and the hero's ownership of one is used as circumstantial evidence to send him to jail.
    Got a four-wheel pickup and a shotgun.
    Never bought a meal in my life.
    I go shopping with a lamp and a knife.
    I got a longdog. I am a poacher.

    Mythology 
  • Inverted in Robin Hood: most of the poachers in the stories were often starving peasants who are forced to intrude on the King's gaming grounds in order to feed their families. Most of the Merry Men were poachers whom Robin saved from hanging.
    • Indeed, many of the earliest conservation laws (which are Older Than They Think, going back a few centuries) were instituted not for the benefit of the animals themselves, but because greedy landowners hunted for recreation and didn't want the peasants to have their own wild game.

    Video Games 
  • Sim Safari - Averted: if you can't employ the African villagers in your safari camp, the only way they can support themselves is by poaching in your park.
  • Many baddies in the first half of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs are this, most prominently the Butcher.
  • Team Fortress 2 - Supposedly, this is what Sniper did before he became the sniper. Only counts as an example if he's the other team's sniper.
  • Stella the Turtle Poacher, the Evil Counterpart to Turtle Tamer characters in Kingdom of Loathing.
  • Averted by the protagonist of Poacher, Derek Badger. He doesn't hunt any endangered species, as far as the player is aware, and he only does it to get by. In fact, he's a very nice and rather empathetic bloke who is more than willing to lend a hand to others in need.
  • These are the bad guys of the Beat 'em Up arcade game Prowl.
  • The Poacher from Jade Cocoon who you can fight three times. Thankfully, even though he demands you hand over your Mons if you lose, he doesn't actually steal them if you do.
  • Maxim Slaughter, the villain in Eco Quest 2. His room is full of various endangered animal trophies.
  • In World of Warcraft, Hemet Nesingwary thinks of himself as more of a Great White Hunter, but his followers in Wrath of the Lich King take it Up to Eleven and become hilariously over the top Evil Poachers.

    Webcomics 
  • Dominic Deegan: The tour guides of the Wild Edge become poachers when the tourists and researchers leave in the off-season.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Planet
    • Looten Plunder is an Evil Poacher who is also an Evil Capitalist.
    • Later, the Planeteers and Captain Planet deal with an Egomaniac Hunter/Evil Poacher family known as the Slaughters, led by Mame Slaughter and Stalker Slaughter. The Slaughters even team-up with Looten Plunder in one episode.
    • Hoggish Greedly was also an evil poacher, to a lesser extent, because he sought out endangered and rare animals as much as he did common ones.
  • The Simpsons
    • In one episode, Bart gets an elephant as a part of a radio contest. The elephant becomes a handful so Homer agrees to sell him to an ivory dealer named Blackheart. When Bart and his elephant run away during the night, Homer at first thinks Blackheart took them both. He yells out the window: "That wasn't part of the deal, Blackheart! THAT WASN'T PAAARRRT!!"
    • Another episode had the family going on a trip to Africa and meeting a Jane Goodall Expy. She convinces them to help her defend her chimpanzee sanctuary from a group of Evil Poachers. The trope gets flipped when it turns out that they are with Greenpeace and are trying to free the chimps from her diamond mine. She admits that she snapped, then buys everyone off with diamonds from her illegal chimp-slave diamond mine.
  • Averted in Gargoyles. There are poachers that hunt panthers in one episode. It turns out they're working for a really pissed off (Native!) woman hunting for a specific panther. Then it turns out both her and the "panther" in question were manipulated by the real villain, a giant spider with supernatural powers.
  • The Transformers plays this trope completely straight with Lord Chumley in the episode "Prime Target". Not only does he poach rare animals, but also apparently top secret Russian planes and Transformers.
  • Gnawgahyde, one of the Dreadnoks from G.I. Joe.
  • Bull Gator and Axl from Taz-Mania, for a sufficently low value of 'evil'. They claim they are only doing it to bring happiness to the zoo-going children of the world.
  • Regis Stone for Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist. He is an Egomaniac Hunter who will wipe out the last of the species for the thrill being the one to do so, and doesn't care what laws he breaks in the process.
  • Kai and Jinora run afoul of a group of Sky Bison poachers in Season 3 of The Legend of Korra. They capture baby bison for transport back to Ba Sing Se, where they're usually used for meat. Fortunately for the kids and the bison, the rest of the new Airbenders and the herd of adult bison come to their rescue.

    Real Life 
  • Oskar Dirlewanger's Waffen-SS Unit in World War II was originally composed of poachers along with regular soldiers (later, other criminals and even mentally ill individuals were admitted). It was hoped that the experience in shooting and hunting would help the unit combat partisans. The unit was notorious even among the SS for it's extreme brutality and it perpetrated some of the worst war crimes in the whole conflict.
  • They very word for poacher in German Language is Wilddieb - "thief of wild animals".

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The RescuersImageSource/Animated FilmsDisney

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