I'm hoping there is a red or someone willing to talk about this, because I have to ask if anything is being done to Poacher's to make it more viable. When I heard there was going to be a jungle item for counter-jungling I was super hyped, but then Poacher's came out and it was just underwhelming. I'm a Gold III (yay placements) jungle main with a secondary focus on mid lane, and the primary counter jungler I would/do play is Shyvana.
So far it seems like every new jungle item except Poachers has had its time to shine, Stalker when it had 50% slow, Skirmisher on Warwick, and Rangers with the smite CDR. I would imagine this is due to the nature of the unique smites each one gives.
Rangers - There is never a bad time for blasting smite, you can smite your own camps or lane minions and it is still good. Gives sustain and clear speed to anyone who needs it.
Stalkers - There is rarely a bad time for chilling smite, it helps your ganks and can add some much needed utility to some champions. Rarely a time when you can't use chilling smite optimally which is simply aiding in a fight.
Skirmishers - Largely the same as stalkers when it comes to useage, but this one has also seen a bit of a drop off since the changes. It is very strong in the 1 v 1 dueling situations it was intended to be used in, but it suffers from what I think is the same problem as poacher's except to a far lesser extent.
Poachers - There is rarely a GOOD time for scavenging smite, and when you do get to counter jungle the punishment/reward isnt really there. This is a problem considering how much harder counter jungling is compared to the other smites, there are more situations where you can't counter-jungle. That seems to be the similar issue with skirmishers. There are times when the enemy team members are too strong to 1 v 1 and in that case your most of your jungle purchase basically was invalidated. With poachers the problem is the risk of encountering the other jungle, the chances of being collapsed on, and the chances of their camps being down aren't worth the reward/punishment when stacked with the fact that Poachers is the only smite that you can be completely shut out of using the effect other that it being smite. At least with skirmishers you can smite them for the damage reduction.
Now I understand not decreasing jungle timers so as to keep counter jungling rewarding, but what about instead of making it more accessible making it more rewarding? Typically when I counter jungle the scavenging smite rewards are largely non-factors, I think most people counter-jungle when they know the position of the enemy jungler so the speed boost for the escape is rarely necessary. The +20 gold is nice, but unless you completely control their jungle and lanes to the point you can free farm their jungle, I would be surprised if someone got more than 200 gold from that part of the smite. Plus I feel counter jungling is more about denial than it is your own advancement even though it does both, but that might just be a personal feeling. The smite CD reduction is a step in the right direction. and it is something I think could be expanded. At that point if you arent worrying about the rewards why are you using Poacher's smite over Rangers?
Here are my proposals for Scavenging Smite buffs, these are individual not both.
Slash and Burn - Smiting an enemy jungle camp visibly scars the land, marking it, after the camp is fully cleared the spawn is delayed X amount of seconds.
It could make it more difficult for you to use their jungle as a source of income, but it can be really punishing if the enemy jungler spends too much time out of his jungle.
Famine - Killing an enemy jungle monster you smited refunds the smite charge (might consume the monster buff though)
The idea here again is to really punish the enemy jungler for showing on the opposite side of the map without clearing their jungle. You could see their J4 top and just take their entire bot side jungle (assuming dragon is down or risky).
The idea is to actually make junglers actually be leery of ganking while they have camps up.
**If you don't want to go the more rewarding/punishing route maybe give Poacher's Smite ward charges. Vision helps the team and makes counter-jungling safer and more reliable while not making it assured. **
Thats my 2 cents on the jungle items, and a bit on why Stalkers and Rangers are the main ones seeing use.
Why don't you guys use Poacher's Knife? Do you want it to be viable why or why not? What are your ideas for buffs?
Hopefully someone from Riot can give some insight.
tl;dr- Poacher's smite risk vs reward isn't balanced by the difficulty of counter jungling and the possibility of shut out from their jungle.
edit 10/13/15: Pre-Season is coming, maybe we can get some more discussion?
edit 10/30/15: We did it? Tracker's Knife is the new Poacher's Knife
edit 10/30/15: Bolded Ward Part