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LOSING SAMSON: Nature, Crime, and Boundaries


Paul Colomy, Sociology & Criminology, University of Denver, 2000 E Asbury Avenue, Denver, CO 80208; e-mail:


This article examines a community's reaction to the poaching of a large elk. Extending the Durkheimian approach to nature, crime, law, and social control, this study discusses the anguish and anger provoked by the infraction, tributes to the fallen animal, calls for more severe and certain sanctions for poaching, and the boundaries affirmed in the incident's aftermath. The implications of this communal response to a wildlife offense for criminalization and conceptions of community are considered.