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Citizens Against Poaching

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A community effort in responsible hunting

With the excitement of hunting seasons upon us some folks—a very small portion of people in our neck of the woods—like to steal our wildlife by poaching. These people are neither hunters nor sportsmen; they are thieves and should be treated as such. To combat such activity, an amazing group of Idaho citizens created an organization called Citizens Against Poaching.  

Citizens Against Poaching, otherwise known as CAP, was created in 1980 and continues strong today, aiding Conservation Officers in catching poachers. It’s obvious we can’t catch every poacher out there so we rely on the good citizens of Idaho to help us. We have 83 Conservation Officers covering the 84,000 square miles in the state, which leaves each officer with roughly 1,000 square miles to patrol. For example, my patrol area stretches from Shoshone County to Kootenai County north to Boundary County and east to the Montana line, a daunting task to say the least. In an ideal world I would be covering every square inch of that area every day and be aware of all illegal activity. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that, so we as officers ask hunters, bird watchers, hikers and all those who enjoy spending time in the outdoors, to take the responsibility and make the effort to call and report illegal activity.

How does the public get a hold of a game warden now? Years ago we phased out a majority of our landline phones, instead replacing them with cell phones. For emergencies or to report violations, please call your local Sheriff’s office dispatch, or the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP).  Instead of leaving a voicemail while the officer is out of cell coverage, you’re talking to a live person in the business of dispatching calls. A dispatcher has the ability to reach multiple officers at once  on the radio or via cell phone, where officers can take the call in the field and have the opportunity to respond in a timely fashion.  As I stated earlier, these dispatchers are professional and can route calls quickly and efficiently to the necessary law enforcement in the field.

When you see a violation or want to report a wildlife emergency, please call 911 just like you would when you need other law enforcement help. You can also call The Citizen’s Against Poaching Hotline at 800-632-5999. Both dispatch centers will immediately contact the local officer with the violation information. As always, you can remain anonymous when calling either dispatch center, but we encourage you to leave a call back number so officers can get additional information. For general information requests you can contact the Regional Fish & Game Office in Coeur d’Alene at 208-769-1414 during normal business hours. 

The difference between an ethical hunter and a careless hunter is honesty.  Every hunter knows somebody or has been in a situation themselves that resulted in an honest mistake.  It doesn’t matter if it was accidentally taking two turkeys with one shot, or killing a bull trout because it was hooked badly, call your local Conservation Officer and explain what happened.  We can make things right if you make the effort to contact us. However, if we have to contact you, do not expect leniency.

For those hunters who intentionally violate the law, you are jeopardizing the privilege to hunt, and you are stealing from your own community. Before you go spotlighting, hunt over salt, or party hunt ask yourself, “Is it worth it? Will I be in hot water with my family, friends, or even lose my job?” Don’t fuel the anti-hunter sentiment and ruin the hunting privilege for the honest sportsmen.

I’ll leave you with this final and important reminder. There is NO general cow elk season again this year; all cow hunts have become controlled hunts in the Panhandle zones.

I look forward to seeing you all in the woods this fall, whether you’re hiking, woodcutting, or hunting! Please have a safe, ethical, and legal hunt. And don’t forget to do your part by making the call to report wildlife violations.

Leave No Child Inside

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Author info

Matt Haag Matt Haag is an Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer.

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hunting, poaching, The Game Trail, citizens against poaching

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