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Illegal wildlife killings down slightly in 2020, Utah DWR says

File photo: A Utah Department of Natural Resources law enforcement vehicle
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 12:57:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Illegal wildlife killings dropped slightly from 1,080 instances in 2019 to 1,056 instances in 2020, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reports.

Utah DWR estimates the value of wildlife killed illegally in 2020 at more than $379,000, compared with $406,500 for 2019.

While the total number of animals killed in Utah in 2020 dropped slightly, the number of citations for unlawful killing and wanton destruction of wildlife increased from 499 citations in 2019 to 773 citations in 2020.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and everyday citizens to enjoy,” said DWR Capt. Wyatt Bubak in a news release sent to FOX 13. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah's wildlife.”

DWR conservation officers detected 4,760 violations in 2020, compared with 3,52 violations in 2019.

Last year, 35 people in Utah had their hunting or fishing privileges suspended, compared with 84 in 2019. The hunting and fishing privilege suspensions are recognized in 49 states (all but Hawaii) as part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

Anyone who witnesses acts of suspicious hunting activity is urged to report it via the UTiP hotline at 800-662-DEER (3337) or on the DWR website.

“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 and also keep those recreating outdoors safe.”

Not all wildlife violations are committed intentionally. To learn about common illegal hunting mistakes, visit the DWR website.