Dec. 8, 2011
1-877-426-3843 makes reporting wildlife crime easy
PRATT — Each year, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) natural resource officers (NROs) check tens of thousands of hunters in the field, and about 96 percent of them are found to be law-abiding. Unfortunately, many non-hunters sometimes associate these ethical hunters with that small percentage who are not. KDWPT has 73 NROs to cover the entire state, so they need the help of hunters — and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors — to watch out for those who don't take wildlife crime seriously. Whether it’s trespassing, shooting from a vehicle on the road, any other activity that appears to be a violation of the law, KDWPT officers need your help.
The easiest way to fight wildlife crime is by phoning KDWPT'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 may remain anonymous.
Nothing can spoil a good hunt more than poachers, who should not be considered “hunters.” Although they may seldom describe themselves as poachers, wildlife thieves are just that. 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. Poachers not only damage the natural resources they should be committed to conserving, they reflect poorly on 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.
But remember these two important reporting rules:
- never confront suspects; and
- provide as much specific information as possible, such as vehicle descriptions and license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations, and the time and location the incident occurred.