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The majority of poaching cases come from citizens reporting suspicious activities, dead animals or bragging from the poachers themselves. Topham said in his case poaching reports come about 50 percent from the DWR’s phone or website tips and the other half are generated by people in his community stopping him at the store, the gas station and even by his house.
He estimates that 70 to 80 percent of those tips lead to an investigation showing that an illegal act had been committed.
Poaching under investigation
An example of wildlife poaching cases in Utah. Call the UTiP hotline at 800-662-3337 if you have information on these or any other poaching incidents.
» Division of Wildlife Resources officials are investigating a case of two golden eagles being shot and killed in early January along a row of trees near Center St. and 7000 West near Hinckley. An eagle was killed in the same area in January 2010. Officials are seeking information about the incident.
» A Sevier County resident recently pled guilty to wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a Class A misdemeanor, for playing part in the illegal killing of three bobcats. The person was ordered to pay $750 in fines and $234.45 in restitution.
» Three Weber county goose hunters were charged with killing ducks out of season on Jan. 19. While goose season was still open, the duck hunt had closed on Jan. 14. A tip from a citizen led to the officials confronting the men when they were leaving the scene. They originally claimed they had only killed one goose, but five drake mallards, two hen mallards and a drake pintail had been left in the field to rot. The men were cited for wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor, and face possible hunting license suspensions of up to three years.
Source: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Fowlks and Topham say they encounter poaching for food rarely these days despite tough economic times. Thrill killing, or opportunistic poaching as it is sometimes called, also seems to have diminished in recent years, but there is a trend emerging and it is a troubling one.
"We have seen a disturbing trend of more organized groups of people involved in numerous poaching cases and large numbers of animals," Fowlks said. "Poachers are refining their practices to collect trophy antlers and it is stealing opportunities from the general public."
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