Hunting season has begun and the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) program is reminding wildlife enthusiasts to be on the lookout for illegal hunting activity. With deer archery season in full swing and waterfowl season around the corner, poachers are savoring the chance to take advantage of Ohio’s wonderful wildlife.
TIP is working hard to minimize the poacher’s ability to escape from wildlife officers. Working in conjunction with the public and law enforcement, TIP is the liaison between the public and local wildlife officers.
WHAT IS TIP?
In 1982, the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) program began, reducing poaching and other wildlife crimes throughout the state by involving the public in reporting wildlife crimes. The TIP program is administered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife with support from TIP Inc., a committee of concerned Ohio citizens.
Since the creation of the TIP program, Ohio citizens have been helping TIP fight wildlife crime. TIP has paid rewards in excess of $112,000 to approximately 860 individuals netting nearly 2,000 violations. In return, the Division has recouped nearly $645,000 in fines and restitution. Every year concerned citizen will place approximately 4,000 calls to TIP. Each year these calls generate approximately 1,500 reports of legitimate wildlife violations.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Wildlife officers can’t be everywhere at one time. You can be another set of eyes and ears. If you witness a poacher in action or have knowledge of a wildlife crime, call your local wildlife officer or the toll-free TIP line at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) and report it! Tips can also be submitted online. TIP allows you to remain totally anonymous, even to the TIP trustees who pay the reward.
PROVIDE THE FACTS
The more information you can provide on wildlife violations, the better the chances for an arrest. When observing a violation, make note of as many of the following items as possible:
time the violation occurred
description of the violation
number of participants
license plate numbers if possible
your name and telephone number if willing
However, the caller’s identity may remain completely anonymous. The more information that is provided, the better chance wildlife officers have at catching would be poachers.
People who destroy these resources illegally are thieves (criminals), no different from someone robbing your home. To help the Division of Wildlife reduce these crimes and bring violators to justice, the TIP program provides monetary rewards to those providing information that leads to the conviction of a poacher. Paying for information about crimes while keeping callers’ identities confidential has proven successful in crime stopping efforts around the nation; other states also use similar programs to fight crimes against fish and wildlife.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT POACHING
Many people think poachers are poor people just trying to feed their family. This is rarely true. Putting food on the table is seldom the reason for poaching. Some poachers do eat the meat, some give it away. Others sell it for profit while others just shoot animals and leave them lay.
Poachers are thieves who have no respect for the wildlife resource. In reality, poaching is a danger not only for wildlife, but to the community at large. Often, poachers are the same people who shoot livestock and road signs or break into homes or vehicles to steal. Poachers never follow the rules and laws that law-abiding hunters do. Poachers will use any method they can to steal wildlife. They use vehicles, spotlights, illegal nets or other devices—anything that will give them the meat, antlers, fur, or fish they pursue. Fair chase and following the law mean nothing to them.
WHY WILDLIFE LAW ENFORCEMENT IS ESSENTIAL
The goal of wildlife management is to produce healthy and stable wildlife resources. The illegal taking and removal of Ohio’s threatened and endangered species along with the unreported harvest of species like deer and turkey make managing wildlife populations difficult. Wildlife management works best when supported by effective laws and their enforcement. No matter how good a wildlife program may be, wildlife crimes will continue. The goal of the TIP program is to reduce the number of wildlife violations through communication with the public. With your assistance the Division of Wildlife and TIP are targeting poachers.
SERIOUS CRIMES DEMAND SERIOUS SOLUTIONS
Fish and wildlife are valuable natural resources. People who hunt and fish legally add millions of dollars to the economy of Ohio not only from the purchase of licenses and permits, but for equipment, fuel, charter trips, hotel stays, and other services. Additionally there are many people who enjoy wildlife through photography or by simply viewing it in its natural state. In short, wildlife adds to the state’s economy and the quality of life of Ohioans.
SUPPORT THE PROGRAM
If you’re concerned about protecting our state’s wildlife resources for future generations, TIP needs your help. Your tax-deductible donation will help support TIP’s reward system and educational programs. TIP supporters include clubs, businesses, and individuals who value our wildlife resource. What we have in common is our enjoyment of fish and wildlife. We want to continue enjoying them for years to come. Poachers are stealing from all of us. Will you help?
Donations should be sent payable to:
TIP, Inc. c/o Ohio Division of Wildlife
2045 Morse Rd.
Bldg. G-3, Columbus, OH 43229-6693