Help fight poaching, DWR provides tips
SALT LAKE CITY-- In addition to being observant, what’s the best thing a person can do to fight poaching in Utah? Get a license plate number for the vehicle the suspect is driving, says Trevor Doman, a Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) conservation officer in northern Utah.
“That’s the critical thing we need,” Doman says. “Having a license plate number will lead us to the individual so we can interview the person and start investigating.”
DWR officers patrol huge swaths of land in Utah, and they can’t be everywhere. That’s where observant people come in. “We need help,” Doman says. “Please keep eyes and ears open, and report suspicious activity to us. Working together, we can keep wildlife in Utah safe.”
While wildlife violations can happen any time of the year, a spike typically occurs during the fall hunting seasons. Doman provides tips to help citizens get officers the information they need:
License plate number
As mentioned, a license plate number is the most critical piece of information a person can provide. If unable to get a license plate number, please provide the officer with as much information as possible.
“The type and color of the vehicle the person was driving, how many people were involved and a description of what was seen can be really helpful,” Doman says. “And, if a person can give us a GPS coordinate, that can guide us quickly to the area where the possible violation occurred.”
Don’t confront individual
Don’t confront someone who might be committing a violation. “Stay out of harm’s way,” Doman says. “Report what was seen, and let us contact them.”
Call UTip hotline
Calling the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher (UTip) hotline is the best way to get information to officers. The hotline, 1-800-662-DEER (3337), is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If anyone witnesses a possible violation, and can’t remember the hotline number, do a quick Internet search on a smart phone. Or, look at any hunting or fishing license. The number is available on it.
Another option is to call 911. Doman asks that people not to do this, though, unless they are certain a poaching incident has occurred, can’t remember or find the UTip number, and feel the incident must be reported immediately.
“Also,” Doman says, “if an observer has a license plate number but can’t currently get cell reception, it’s totally fine to wait and report the incident when phone service is available. A license plate number will lead us directly to the suspect.”
Don’t call UTip for info
Remember that the UTip hotline is not an information line. Only call UTip to report possible poaching and other wildlife-related crimes. Doman says he gets a few UTip calls every a month from people who are simply looking for information.
“Every time an officer receives a UTip call,” he says, “even if it isn’t related to a wildlife crime, he or she has to file a follow-up report. Filing the report takes time away that could have been spent fighting wildlife crime in Utah.”
“Please call the UTip line only to report wildlife crimes,” he says. “If a person is simply looking for information, call a DWR office. The person who answers the DWR phone will be happy to help.”
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Central Region Office which oversees the Sanpete County area is located at 1115 North Main Street, Springville. For information call (801) 491-5678.