Evil Poacher

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"Whoever hits the most manatees wins!"

Hoggish Greedly, Captain Planet

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 locals 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. There are some illegal trophy hunters, too.

As an inversion, in older works, fairy tales and Folk Music, you will sometimes see a Loveable Rogue Poacher contrasted against the Evil Fatcat Landowner in a Peter Rabbit-vs-Farmer MacGregor kind of relationship. These are generally from a time when even kids' stories admitted that animals have to be killed for people to eat meat (and this kind of poacher always does hunt for food), and the conflict is more about the morality of claiming ownership of natural resources.

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.

Examples of Evil Poacher include:

Anime and Manga

Ways to tell if someone is a poacher: are they using devices aside from their own Pokemon and a Pokeball? Are they attempting to capture more than one Pokemon of a certain type at a time, outside of a designated Safari Zone? And most obviously, does the targeted Pokemon clearly belong to someone else?
Team Rocket are often poachers, for example in the Safari Zone episode. There were 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 Pokemon in this way Arbok and Weezing were let go to help them when the Pokemon were freed.
    • However, it should be noted that most poachers shown capture Pokemon to sell illegally, which fits in with the real life version of poaching. Also worth noting is a more recent episode actually showed this a tad lighter by having a poacher reform.

Comic Books

  • 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.

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 is another example.
  • 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...
  • The villain of Bambi is an evil hunter who for some reason is never seen in person at all.
  • 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

Films -- Live Action

  • 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, etc. They want to kill the monster which is a 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.


  • 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 dang evil. They are ready to kill a starving, shipwrecked 14 year old who is totally willing to keep quiet until they realize he's worth a ton of money.
  • The post-Apocalypse novel 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.

Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a guy who hunted werewolves for their pelts. Werewolves are dangerous monsters indeed, but the fact that they're human most of the time gave Buffy motivation to stop him.
  • Countless episodes of MacGyver.
  • Lost Tapes - Both the Hunter variety and the Animal Trafficker variety are featured. Both get a Karmic Death from the series featured Cryptids. Though for the later, the monster also kills one of the people breaking into the storage facility where illegally imported animals are kept.
  • Several episodes of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo deal with people trying to illegally kill or capture park animals, to include Skippy.
  • Probably the most common sort of bad guy encountered in Daktari.
  • Zig-zagged on Sea Patrol. The normal baddie is either this (normally termed a Foreign Fishing Vessel or FFI) or someone disguising themselves as this but involved in something more sinister. Appropriate as the Aussie Navie is enforcing its internationally-agreed fishing rights. They are pictured as harvesting the most valuable parts of prey wastefully without taking the time to exploit everything that they catch can produce (sharks just have their fins cut off for gourmet cooks, and are thrown overboard when their meat and leather will also sell if not for as much). On the other hand the actual crews of FFVs are pretty obviously Punch Clock Villains and even Sympathetic ones who work in horrible conditions on unsanitary vessels and would only have signed on out of desperation.

Oral Tradition, Myths and Legends

  • 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.
      • It is not only a matter of sharing food. An oversupply of wild animals grazes on peasant land. Maria Theresa once was shocked to hear of this aspect and ordered the deer on her estate exterminated and eaten. Which shows as a side note that a lot of injustices take place simply because almost no one thinks about them except the victim (and it takes an energetic ruler to notice).
    • Greed might be less of a description for the game laws of the time than pride. They were a type of sumptuary law which is a law meant to distinguish between classes by the type of recreations allowed. Such things went beyond the merely functional (you can't impersonate a cop) or reasonable (you can't use another's trademark) to the absurd telling that only nobles could wear certain clothes, eat certain foods, etc. Of course when that happened it was dodged either by Robin Hood's bow or more realistically by a merchant's silver.

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.
  • 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.

Web Comics

  • 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 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 part of 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 EvilPoachers. 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 a poacher 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.
  • Transformers Generation 1 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.