DWR launches massive patrol effort against deer poaching

A massive winter poaching patrol effort is underway by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, location not specified, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — Conservation officers with the Division of Wildlife Resources are focusing massive patrol efforts on ranges on which deer congregate in the winter.  Officers are conducting the patrols for one reason: to protect Utah’s mule deer from poachers.

DWR officer Josh Carver shows what wildlife officers are trying to stop this winter -- the illegal killing of mule deer in Utah. Location unspecified. Circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, St. George News
DWR officer Josh Carver shows what wildlife officers are trying to stop this winter — the illegal killing of mule deer in Utah. Location unspecified. Circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

Tony Wood, chief of the DWR’s Law Enforcement Section said, winter is the time of year when deer congregate on ranges at lower elevations.  As large groups of deer bunch together, they provide an enticing target for poachers.  But the deer’s behavior helps wildlife officers too: it allows officers to zero in on the areas where poaching is most likely to occur.

“If there’s an area in Utah that attracts mule deer in the winter,” Wood said, “we’re watching it.”

Wood encourages people to get involved.

“This winter,” Wood said, “as you travel to areas where deer congregate, make sure 1-800-662-3337 is programmed into your cell phone.  That’s our Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline number.  If you see anything suspicious, call us.  The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Patrol efforts

Wood said DWR officers are doing the following this winter:

  • Patrolling winter ranges at night; officers are conducting these patrols on land and from the air
  • Conducting saturation patrols that put several DWR officers on the same piece of winter range at the same time

Winter range patrols are underway across Utah, he said.  The patrols will continue until the deer shed their antlers this spring.

Poachers take a big toll

So far in 2014, wildlife officers have investigated the illegal killing of 152 mule deer in Utah.

Most of the deer were bucks.  The antlers on seven of the bucks were big enough to place the deer in a trophy category.

“If you’re a hunter,” Wood says, “you would have been thrilled to take any of these bucks.  Poachers took that chance away from you.”

The monetary value of the animals to Utah’s citizens is $114,000.

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11 Comments

  • skippy December 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Poachers are on the same level as pedophiles and grave robbers.

    • Burton December 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      I agree!

      • mesaman December 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm

        I think you are being to compassionate. See Alaska’s penalties and fines for poaching.

        • Koolaid December 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

          Isn’t Sarah exempt from those?

  • J Milne December 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Massive patrol effert – that means 1 guy driving around in his truck on paved roads- the DWR has no clue how to catch poachers other then hoping some one turns them in-

  • Joe Smith December 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I bet all these poachers are liberal democrats…

    • Joe Smith December 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      because all the republicans already hid their guns for when Obama comes!

  • Spencer December 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    sounds like great dedicated hunter hours!

  • Koolaid December 10, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Poachers’ poster child is Ted Nugent. He’s republicans’ guy, too!

  • mo ferguson December 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Me thinks KOOLAID is a closet poacher…..just don’t come out of that closet Mr. Aid.

  • Red Rocker December 10, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Even hunters hate poachers. We need stiffer penalties here. Confiscate vehicles, heavy fines and prison would be fine by me.

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