UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) reports that 319 wildlife have been illegally killed since August 1, 2022.
As several hunting seasons are in full swing and Utah’s general-season deer hunt approaches (Oct. 22), DWR conservation officers are patrolling the state to protect wildlife and make sure hunters are obeying laws.
During this fall’s hunts, officers have reportedly contacted roughly 13,700 individuals and inspected the hunting licenses of 4,347 people from Aug. 1 to Sept. 23.
The inspections revealed that 319 animals were illegally killed, including big game, fish, waterfowl and furbearer species. The DWR states that of the animals killed, 39 were big game species.
Officers have reportedly issued 569 citations and will “continue to investigate other violations and turn them over to the court system,” the DWR states.
“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 before they go out into the field,” DWR Lt. Chad Bettridge says.
From Aug. 1 to Sept. 23, conservation officers have also reportedly received 240 tips, which they say is incredibly valuable in helping them investigate poaching cases. There are currently 53 DWR officers patrolling all of Utah, and “they can’t be everywhere,” the DWR states.
“We need your help,” Bettridge 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.”
While wildlife violations can happen any time of the year, a spike typically occurs during the fall hunting seasons.
If you’d like to help in the fight against illegal hunting in Utah, here’s what you should do, according to the DWR:
- Get a license plate number — If you see someone who is potentially breaking Utah’s wildlife laws, getting a license plate number is the most critical piece of information you can provide to conservation officers.
- 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 you can.
- Report the information to the DWR using one of the channels listed below.
Here are the various ways you can 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 your hunting and fishing licenses.
- Use the UTDWR Law Enforcement app.
- Text officers at 847411.
- Report online through the DWR website.
So far this year, conservation officers have received 363 tips through the app, the DWR states.
Lastly, the DWR is reminding the public that the UTiP hotline is not an information line. You should only call it to report possible poaching and other wildlife-related crimes.
“If you’re simply looking for information, call the nearest DWR office.”