SALT LAKE CITY – At the beginning of the fall hunting season, the Department of Wildlife Resources released poaching numbers and reminded the public how to fight poaching in Utah.
“During this fall’s hunts, conservation officers contacted approximately 13,700 individuals and inspected the hunting licenses of 4,347 individuals from August 1 to September 23. During these interactions, officers discovered 319 illegally killed animals, including large game, fish and waterfowl and furbearer species. Of the animals killed, 39 were big game species.”
During that time, officers issued 569 subpoenas. They continue to investigate other additional violations that are being referred to the court system.
“Hunters must take responsibility for knowing the law, having a current hunting or combination license, and knowing what species and areas their license allows them to hunt before going into the field.” DWR Lt. said Chad Bettridge.
From August 1 to September 23, DWR officers also received 240 alerts through their reporting tools. With only 53 DWR officers patrolling all of Utah, they can’t be everywhere.
“We need your help,” Bettridge said. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report any suspicious activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws that help protect wildlife, maintain healthy populations, and also keep our growing public safe.”
Here’s what you can do to help:
Get a license plate
“A license plate leads us to the individual so that we can interview the individual and begin the investigation,” Bettridge said. “Other helpful details include the type and color of vehicle the person was driving, how many people were involved, and a description of what you saw. “And if you can give us a GPS coordinate, that can quickly lead us to the area where the possible breach took place.”
If you can’t get a license plate, try to collect or write down as much information about the person and the vehicle as you can.
Don’t confront the individual
“We don’t want anyone to be put in danger or put in a situation that makes them uncomfortable,” Bettridge said. “Report what you saw and let’s get in touch.”
Report the incident to DWR using their reporting tools
- Call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher Hotline at 1-800-662-3337. (The UTiP hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is the quickest way to report a wildlife violation. The number is printed on your hunting and fishing licenses.)
- Use the UTDWR Law Enforcement App
- Text officers at 847411
- Sign up online via the DWR website