This study provides a descriptive account of rationalizations for poaching used by wildlife law violators. There has been little research on motivations for poaching. This study uses qualitative data obtained from surveys and in-depth interviews with wildlife law violators and conservation officers in Kentucky to examine rationalizations used by wildlife law violators to excuse and justify participation in this type of illegal activity. Comments from conservation officers and violators revealed widespread use of rationalizations, with denial of responsibility being most common. The study also used claims of entitlement, defense of necessity, and denial of necessity of the law. Findings contribute to our knowledge of why people illegally take wildlife resources.