Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

How to report poaching

By Spencer Durrant, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Oct 29th, 2018 @ 2:31pm

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Most of Utah's big game hunts are wrapping up, but that doesn't mean poachers are out of the woods.

Poaching is a serious problem in the Beehive State, and in 2015, 1,375 fish and wildlife illegally taken in 2015, totaling a statutory value of $737,220. From trophy mule deer like the infamous "Rabbi" to pheasants, poachers take a variety of local animals illegally.

But what problems specifically does poaching present to those who love Utah's great outdoors? And if you happen upon a poached animal or see poaching taking place, what can you do about it?

Why is it a problem?

If you don't hunt, it's a valid question to wonder why poaching is such a big problem.

Utah's hunts — from cottontail rabbits to black bears — are administered and monitored by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The number of hunting permits given out each year is based on what wildlife biologists determine is a healthy level of predation.

So when poachers harvest animals illegally, they cause significant short-term, and potentially long-term, damage to the health of Utah's wildlife.

On top of that, poaching takes opportunities away from honest hunters — those who put in for tags, buy preference points and spend days scouting for their hunts.

Over 1,000 poaching cases are reported each year in Utah, according to the Herald-Journal News. And it is estimated that only 5 percent of all poaching incidents are ever brought to the attention of proper authorities.

How do I report it?

If you encounter a poached animal, you have a few options to report the incident. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources maintains an online portal to report poaching, in addition to a hotline that's managed 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. You can dial *DEER from your cellphone or call 1-800-662-3337.

When you report a poaching incident, wildlife officials have a few suggestions:

  • Try to get as much information about the poacher as possible. If you see them in or around their vehicle, a license plate number is especially helpful. "Having a license plate number will lead us to the individual so we can interview the person and start investigating," said Trevor Doman, a DWR conservation officer in northern Utah.
  • Doman also recommends that, no matter how well-intentioned you may be, to not confront poachers. Those types of situations can escalate quickly, and the last thing you want to have happen is for anyone to get hurt.

Spencer Durrant

About the Author: Spencer Durrant

Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, outdoors columnist, and novelist from Utah. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, TROUT Magazine, Hatch Magazine, and other national publications. He's also the Managing Editor of The Modern Trout Bum. Connect with him on Twitter/Instagram, @Spencer_Durrant.


Spencer Durrant

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