Elk NetworkCrack Down on Poaching

General | November 17, 2020

Below is a news release from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Refer to the state wildlife agency where you live to acquire that state’s poaching hotline number and other information.

There’s one important tool that helps solve poaching crimes in Wyoming: your eyes. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department relies on tips from the public regarding wildlife crimes. Often, these citizen reports open an investigation or solve a case.

“Tips from the public are invaluable in the work game wardens and wildlife investigators carry out to protect Wyoming’s wildlife resource,” said Mike Choma, law enforcement supervisor. “Game wardens patrol long hours during the hunting season but they can’t be everywhere. Tips help with many cases that may go undetected.”

Game and Fish has a system for submitting tips through the Stop Poaching program. All information on the reporting party is kept strictly confidential. In 2019, 311 tips were received from members of the public.

“Game wardens followed up on all of these tips,” Choma said. “In many cases, no violation could be determined. However, in numerous instances, wardens were able to identify wildlife violations and possible suspects.”

Last year, investigations led to 22 citations and 11 warnings being issued to violators. Defendants charged as a result of tips made to the Stop Poaching Program paid $5,545 in fines and restitution. Game and Fish also partners with the Wyoming Wildlife Protector’s Association, a nonprofit, to provide cash rewards for information about suspected poaching activity.  In 2019, $3,500 in cash rewards was paid to individuals who provided information to game wardens.

This hunting season, Game and Fish is asking the public for help on several poaching cases around the state. Recent cases from across Wyoming include:

People can submit tips through a hotline, a text tip line and the Department website:

  • Call Stop Poaching Hotline: 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847) or 1-307-777-4330 for out-of-state calls.
  • Text:  Send keyword WGFD and message to 847-411. Android-based cell phone users may download a free app to submit text message reports. iPhone users must text reports to 847-411.
  • Submit an online Stop Poaching report on the Game and Fish website.

For 2020, Remington partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)