SALT LAKE CITY – As hunting season approaches, wilderness law enforcement needs your help to fight the “War on Poaching” in Utah.
“You’re crucial to our law enforcement efforts,” Capt. Rick Olson of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said. “We need your eyes, your help and your support. We need your help to protect your wildlife.”
Utah DWR officers catch plenty of wildlife violators on their own. But many more — including those who commit serious offenses — are caught because someone was watching and reported their crime. Whether you’re hunting, fishing, camping or just taking a hike through Utah’s scenic backcountry, it is vital to report any suspicious activity you see to the Utah DWR through one of the following channels:
- If you see a wildlife violation occur, calling Utah’s Turn in a Poacher emergency hotline is the best way to get an officer to the scene. The hotline, 1-800-662-3337, is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- If you don’t have the hotline number handy, call the nearest police department or sheriff’s office.
- If you find something suspicious that isn’t an emergency — for example, a dead 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 by calling 1-800-662-3337 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone calls are preferred and generate a faster response.
“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.”
If you see anything that seems suspicious or out of the ordinary, contact the Utah DWR immediately. Do not confront people who might be committing a violation; just take in all you can during the occurrence that might help law enforcement.
A license plate number is the most important piece of information you can give to officers. Olson said callers often provide only the color or make of the suspect’s vehicle, which is not helpful enough at times.
A description of the person and the location where the incident is occurring are also crucial.
“If you have a GPS unit with you, give us the coordinates,” Olson said. “GPS coordinates are really helpful in getting us to the right spot as quickly as possible.”
Additionally, visitors to Utah’s wilderness are encouraged to check the “Officers on Patrol” website, a resource that provides information on recent poaching arrests and ongoing cases requiring public assistance.