Fish and Wildlife officers say the public is key to catching ill - KPTV - FOX 12

Fish and Wildlife officers say the public is key to catching illegal hunters

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Washington State Fish and Wildlife officers tell FOX 12 they consider the public one of their most important tools to catching people who hunt illegally.

“Given what our staffing level is at right now, the public needs to remember that they are one of our best avenues for information,” Deputy Chief Mike Cenci of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said. “I have 135 Fish and Wildlife police officers to cover all of Washington State’s landscape 365 days a year. The responsibility that our officers have is much more diverse than folks realize.”

WDFW says for that reason, they want to hear about any suspicious activity taking place.

“We would rather get information on completely legitimate activity than to have someone say, ‘I saw that, but I didn’t know if it was worth reporting,’” Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Region 5 Captain Jeff Wickersham added. “The public’s support is vital. We’re very limited in our ability to have coverage in such a geographically diverse state. We need them to be our eyes when we can’t be there.”

MORE: Investigation into massive Washington poaching operation continues

The WDFW offers many tools for the public to use to report illegal hunting activity. People can file a report online with the option to stay anonymous or provide contact information.

Officers ask that the public dial 911 to report poaching in progress or other emergency dangerous wildlife complaints. They also have a non-emergency poaching hotline at 1-877-933-9847.

People can also text a tip by sending “WDFWTIP” followed by a space and the tip to 847411. These reports are completely anonymous.

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WDFW officials add that information that leads to a conviction could be eligible for a cash reward of up to 4500 or up to 10 hunting bonus points, which could provide a greatly improved chance of drawing special permits for hunting.

State officials said about $8,000 is paid annually in rewards, with about 90 individuals receiving special hunt drawing bonus points.

South of the Columbia River, the Oregon State Police’s Fish and Wildlife division also offers multiple ways for the public to report poaching.

The Turn In Poachers, or TIP, program offers different rewards for tips that lead to arrests and convictions in Oregon.

In addition to the online form, people can call a 24-7 hotline at 800-452-7888 or

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The rewards range from $100 to $1,000, and the tips can also remain anonymous.

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