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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
POP POACHERS WITH TOLL-FREE PHONE CALL
1-877-427-3843 makes reporting wildlife crime easy
PRATT — Each year, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) natural resource officers (NROs) check approximately 60,000 hunters in the field, and about 96 percent of them are found to be law-abiding sportsmen and women. Although the vast majority of hunters are ethical, they have to deal with that small percentage who are not. KDWP has 73 NROs to cover the entire state, so they need the help of hunters — and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors — to keep their eyes out for those who don't take wildlife crime seriously.
There is an easy way to combat this problem: phone KDWP's Operation Game Thief hotline, 1-877-426-3843. Using this toll-free number, concerned hunters and landowners can quickly turn in wildlife criminals simply by picking up the phone. All calls received through the Operation Game Thief line are immediately relayed to the natural resource officer nearest the violation. The line is available anytime of day or night, every day of the year, and callers remain anonymous.
Nothing can spoil a good hunt more than that small percentage of unethical “hunters." Although they may seldom describe themselves as such, these people are more properly called poachers. These are the people who trespass, road hunt, litter, take more than their bag limit, drink while they hunt, use illegal equipment, take game out of season, take wildlife for which there is no season, or vandalize. While such behavior is the exception, poachers not only damage the natural resources they should be committed to conserving, they reflect poorly on all hunters in the eyes of the general public.
Operation Game Thief calls have resulted in arrests and convictions on violations ranging from public lands vandalism to deer poaching. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. Even drug operations have been uncovered by alert hunters using this number.
Never confront suspects, but providing information such as vehicle descriptions and license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations, and the time and location the incident occurred will greatly aid law enforcement. The more specific the information is, the easier it is for natural resource officers to investigate the case.
Remember, when you see someone violating wildlife laws, they are stealing from you and damaging the image of legal hunters. Help bring them to justice by phoning 1-877-426-3843.