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The Game Trail

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The Game Trail

Poachers are neither hunters nor sportsmen

Summertime! Huckleberries are ripe, and the season is right to get out in the woods and have some fun. The backside of summer seems to slip on by and before you know it school has started, so plan a trip with the kids before you lose the chance. The good news is that hunting season is only a month away! Hope everybody is taking some time to get that rifle or bow tuned up and preparing their other hunting equipment properly.  Please pick up a copy of the hunting regulations and check on the season dates that you plan on hunting. We’ve made changes to most every season except for bears, so make your plans accordingly.

With the excitement of looming hunting seasons 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 Idahoan 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 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.

To call CAP and report poaching activity simply call 800-632-5999. The phone lines are manned 24 hours a day and 7 days a week with operators prepared to take the information and relay it to the nearest Conservation Officer. CAP pays rewards if the information supplied is sufficient for a citation or a warrant to be issued, a conviction is not necessary. Set reward amounts are $100 for birds, fish, and general violations, $250 for most big game animals and $500 for trophy species, such as sheep, goat, moose and caribou. With approval from the CAP board, these amounts can be increased in special circumstances. Major funding for CAP rewards come from donations, controlled hunt fee check off, court ordered reimbursements, and license sales commission on licenses sold at department offices.  

From September 2008 to March 2009 CAP operators received 1,520 calls from concerned citizens across the state.  Those calls generated 15 warnings, 134 citations, and two felony arrests! CAP paid a total of $15,000 in rewards to those who took to the time to call and report a wildlife thief. Of course, those callers remained anonymous.

Unfortunately, some callers took the time to call but didn’t relay enough information that we could make a case. The information your Conservation Officers are looking for is very simple if you can safely obtain the following; date, time, location, possible violation, description of the violator(s), description of the vehicle, and most importantly, the vehicle license number. Please only obtain this information safely; do not put your life at risk.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. If you’re headed to the woods or out on the water please enjoy our natural wonders responsibly. If you happen to see illegal activity while you’re out there please make the call to CAP 800-632-5999.

Leave No Child Inside

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

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