Utah DWR: You are the front line in the war against poaching

A call to Utah's poaching hotline helped DWR officers bust a major poaching ring in central Utah in 2010. Officers show some of the antlers they confiscated. | Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

ST. GEORGE  – You might not know it, but you’re the key to fighting poaching in Utah.

“You’re crucial to our law enforcement efforts,” said Captain Rick Olson with the Division of Wildlife Resources. “We need your eyes, your help and your support.

“We need your help to protect your wildlife.”

Olson said DWR officers catch plenty of wildlife violators on their own. But many more violators, including many who commit serious wildlife crimes, are caught because someone was watching and called the DWR.

With many of Utah’s hunting seasons underway, Olson said it’s vital that you report any suspicious activity you see. You can report this activity the following ways:

Witnessing a violation

If you see a wildlife violation occur, calling Utah’s Turn in a Poacher (UTiP) hotline is the best way to get an officer to the scene.

The hotline is: 800-662-3337.  It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you can’t remember the UTiP number, pull out your Utah hunting or fishing license or permit. The number is written on the license or permit.

Olson said when you call 800-662-3337, the person who takes your call will patch you through to the DWR officer nearest to where the incident is occurring.

If you can’t remember the UTiP number and you don’t have your license or permit with you because you’re not hunting or fishing, call the nearest police department or sheriff’s office.

The office will send a DWR officer or another law enforcement officer to the scene.

Sharing information

If you find something suspicious that isn’t an emergency — for example, a big game animal that’s missing its head — or if you have any other information you want to share about a possible wildlife violation, you can report it two ways:

  • Call 1-800-662-3337

“If you send information to us via email,” Olson said, “it might be a day or two before we can get back with you. If you need to reach us right away, call 1-800-662-3337.”

What to look for

If you see anything that seems suspicious or out of the ordinary, such as a person raising a gun to shoot something and then lowering the gun as soon as he or she notices you, let the DWR know.

“Please call us,” Olson said. “Even if what you saw doesn’t look like a big deal to you, 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.”

And, importantly, if you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, Olson said you shouldn’t confront the person who is committing the violation. Instead, contact the DWR immediately.

Be a good witness

A license plate number is the most important piece of information you can give to officers. Olson said callers often provide only the color of the suspect’s vehicle. “That’s good information to have,” Olson said, “but what we really need is a license plate number.”

A description of the person and the location where the incident is occurring are also crucial. “If you have a GPS unit with you,” Olson said, “give us the coordinates. GPS coordinates are really helpful in getting us to the right scene as quick as possible.”

“Officers on patrol” Web page

Visiting the “Officers on patrol” Web page is a great way to learn about some of Utah’s most recent poaching arrests and to stay current on poaching cases with which DWR officers need your help.

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  • Murat September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I see plenty of poachers when I’m out hunting, but don’t report them as I view hunting as our birthright and reject their authority on the matter. I encourage people to hunt as they see fit.

    • Dghws September 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      I encourage you to encourage others to follow the laws. As evidenced by your expressed (many times) views of authority and your reported behavior and lack of concern for established laws you in a sense are freely “giving” away my birthright of having resources available to me to use. I consider this stealing from me and from everyone else that is afforded the same rights as you. I would hope that you would consider that those poachers are also stealing from you and reducing the resources available to you. I have friends from Tanzania who are wildlife officials and one who is a guide who show more consideration for natural resources than you express. They are very aware of what happens when poachers decimate the wildlife of an area and how everyone then pays the price for this wanton disregard for laws and respect of others rights. You sir are no better than the poachers and I for one find your unwillingness to protect our resources by not reporting their behavior offensive and unacceptable. I hope that your actions are more closely monitored by the DWR. You seem to be one that also finds poaching so acceptable that you too imbibe.

      • Murat September 6, 2012 at 9:23 am

        It is a competitive world. Eat or be eaten. I am a hunter.

  • nathan September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    It is not our birthright to kill anything and everything we want.If we all still had to hunt animals to survive,we would have to only kill when necessary. Waste not,want not.

    • Murat September 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      This is merely your opinion. I believe it is my birthright to hunt, and I disregard anyone who tells me otherwise.

      • Dghws September 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm

        I disregard anyone who accepts, approves of, and who encourages the breaking of laws.

        • Murat September 6, 2012 at 9:22 am

          You don’t matter. You are an insignificant peasant.

  • nathan September 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I never said that my opinion was the only correct one.opinions can’t be right or wrong,otherwise they would be called facts……Its a fact that your opinion is incredibly misguided;-)

  • Poachers suck September 6, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
    Thomas Jefferson

    That being said trophy hunters and poachers suck but their are some people that hunt for food to feed their family.

  • DoubleTap September 6, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Murat, put down the bong.

  • hawkins September 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I’m not sure its a bong.Most likely a glass pipe for smoking harder drugs than maryjane

    • Murat September 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      And your mother is …

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