With most of Utah's hunting seasons winding, wildlife officers are asking hunters and anglers — and others who are in the outdoors too — to watch for illegal hunting activities. That includes hunters shooting animals but not retrieving them, shooting after dark or any activity that seems suspicious.
Division of Wildlife Resources Captain Mitch Lane says DWR conservation officers catch plenty of wildlife violators on their own. But the officers are spread thin. That's where you come in.
"We need your help," Lane says. "While you're enjoying time in the outdoors this fall and winter, please be observant. If you see something that doesn't seem right, please let us know."
"Even if what you saw doesn't look like a big deal," says DWR Law Enforcement Section Chief Rick Olson, "let us know about it. Some of our most significant cases started when someone called us with a small tip that led us to more information."
If you witness something you know is a hunting violation or you see something that's simply suspicious or out of the ordinary, Olson encourages you not to confront the person who committed the violation. Instead, contact the DWR immediately by calling 1-800-662-DEER (3337).
1-800-662-DEER is the agency's Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher (UTiP) hotline. It's staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Olson encourages you to place the UTiP number in your phone. "If the number's in your phone," he says, "you won't have to remember it when a violation occurs. You'll have it right at your fingertips."
Another option is to pull out your hunting or fishing license: the UTiP number is printed on it.
Be a good witness
Keep a few things in mind, and you'll provide DWR officers with what they need to make an arrest:
- A description of the person and the location where the incident is occurring. "If you have a GPS unit with you," Olson says, "give us the coordinates. GPS coordinates are really helpful in getting us to the right spot as quick as possible."
- If possible, provide a license plate number for the person's vehicle.
If you find something suspicious
If you find something suspicious that isn't an emergency — for example, if you find a dead big game animal from which someone has removed the head — or if you have any other information you want to share about a possible wildlife violation, you can report it two ways:
- Call 1-800-662-DEER (3337)
- Email the information to officers at email@example.com.
Olson says if you provide the information via email, officers won't receive it immediately. "If you send information to us via email," he says, "it might be a day or two before we can get back with you.
"If you need to reach us right away," he says, "call 1-800-662-DEER."
"Officers on patrol"
Visiting or subscribing to the "Officers on patrol" web page is a great way to learn about some of Utah's recent poaching arrests and to stay current on poaching cases DWR officers need your help with.