State wildlife officials say poaching is on the rise in Nevada and the slumping economy is partly to blame.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife says 71 big game animals were poached in 2008, topping the previous high of 70 in 2005 and 52 in 2007.

Agency officials say they think the increase may be partly due to people having more time on their hands because they're unemployed.

In November, the number of unemployed Nevadans reached 111,700, or about 8 percent of the state's work force — the highest level since 1984.

Of the 71 animals poached in Nevada last year, 37 were deer, 21 were elk, nine were antelope and four were bighorn sheep.