In Oct. of 2020, we reported on the illegal taking of game animals in Utah. We even recorded a podcast with Lt. Chad Bettridge of the Utah DWR about the issue.

The Utah DWR reported that 1,056 animals were illegally killed in 2020. Likewise, 4,760 wildlife violations were issued this year. That is up from 3,525 violations in 2019. However, in 2020, many more people were out enjoying the outdoors. With more people out and about, more violations were bound to happen. With canceled flights, trips, and events, people had very few options for recreating. Unfortunately, the outdoors and wildlife took the brunt of this increase in people.

“We need your help. Please keep your eyes and ears open and report suspicious activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws and also keep those recreating outdoors safe.” – Utah DWR Capt. Wyatt Bubak

Poaching In Utah

Many of these violations are accidental. With so many people entering the outdoors, accidents are bound to happen. However, the amount of wanton waste and illegal take violations mean at least some of the violators knew what they were doing. The total citations issued for unlawful take and wanton destruction increased from 499 in 2019 to 773 in 2020.

While some of these violations were due to someone illegally taking a big game animal, most of the time the violations come from taking smaller game. Fish were the most commonly illegally taken wildlife, while waterfowl was second. Other small game animals like pheasants and cottontail rabbits were also illegally taken. As a result, a total of 35 people had their hunting or fishing privileges suspended in Utah in 2020. This all resulted in a loss valued at $379,000. However, if there is any good news it’s that the total number of illegally killed animals dropped slightly in 2020. In 2019, a total of 1,080 animals were taken illegally.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, and everyday citizens to enjoy. Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.” – Utah DWR Capt. Wyatt Bubak

Anyone recreating in Utah is encouraged to report any suspicious hunting activity that they see. If you see something you can call the UTiP hotline at  1-800-662-DEER (3337) or report the activity online on the DWR website.

So, what are your thoughts on over 1,000 animals being illegally taken in Utah? What kind of plan would you use to prevent this? Let us know in the comments!

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