SALT LAKE CITY — Several hunting seasons are in full swing, but Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) wants to remind hunters that they need to know the law--and will be cited for illegally killing animals.
Utah’s general-season deer hunt doesn't begin until Oct. 23, but DWR is patrolling the state to ensure laws are met and wildlife is protected.
During this fall’s hunts, conservation officers already found 504 violations and discovered 92 illegally killed animals, including deer, elk, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep, fish, ducks, geese, turkeys, and raptors.
Of the animals killed, 45 were big game species. Officers will continue to investigate other violations and turn them over to the court system.
“Hunters need to take the responsibility of knowing the law, having a current hunting or combination license and knowing what species and areas their permits allow them to hunt,” said DWR Captain Wyatt Bubak.
Conservation officers have also received hundreds of tips through the various reporting tools, which they say is incredibly valuable in helping them investigate poaching cases.
There are currently 35 DWR officers patrolling all of Utah, and they can’t be everywhere.
“We need your help,” Bubak said. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report suspicious activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws, which help with wildlife conservation and maintaining healthy populations, and also keep our recreating public safe.”
Ways to combat poaching include the following:
Get a license plate number
Getting a license plate number is the most critical piece of information for conservation officers.
“Having a license plate number will lead us to the individual, so we can interview the person and start investigating,” Bubak said.
“Other helpful details include the type and color of the vehicle the person was driving, how many people were involved and a description of what you saw.“
Don’t confront the individual
Don’t confront someone who might be committing a violation, just observe from a distance and take note of as many details as possible.
Report the information to the DWR
While reporting a wildlife violation in a Facebook message will eventually get to a conservation officer, it is much more efficient and effective to use the proper channels.
Here are the various ways to report illegal wildlife activities:
- Call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline at 1-800-662-3337. (The UTiP hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is the quickest way to report a wildlife violation. The number is printed on hunting and fishing licenses.)
- Use the UTDWR Law Enforcement App
- Text officers at 847411
- Report online through the DWR website
Remember that the UTiP hotline is not an information line. Only call it to report possible poaching and other wildlife-related crimes.
“Every time our officers receive a UTiP call, even if it isn’t related to a wildlife crime, they have to file a follow-up report,” Bubak said.
“Filing the report takes time away that could have been spent fighting wildlife crime in Utah. Please call the UTiP line only to report wildlife crimes."