Poaching crimes still on the rise in Utah


Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Poaching is still a major problem in Utah with 1,283 illegally killed animals in 2022. This is higher than the previous year and includes animals both big and small, feathered, furry and scaled. And the combined value of all of the poached wildlife for the year was approximately $609,561, according to a press release.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and everyday residents to enjoy,” said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) Capt. Chad Bettridge. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah's wildlife.”

In 2022, some of the animals killed illegally included:

The remaining illegally killed wildlife included small game animals, waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species. 

To compare 2022 with previous years, in 2021, a total of 1,153 animals were illegally killed with a value of over $610,000; in 2020, a total of 1,079 animals were illegally taken at a value over $387,000; and, in 2019, a total of 1,065 animals were poached with a value of over $384,000. 

UDWR issued 4,074 citations in 2022 with fishing without a valid license being the top offender. In addition, last year, 66 people lost their hunting or fishing privileges in the state (compared to 54 in 2021). 

The state relies on Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher anonymous tip line, the UDWR Law Enforcement, texting officers at 847411 and reports through the UDWR website to help nab wildlife offenders. In 2022, the hotline number received 1,010 tips. 

“Our officers can’t be everywhere at once, so we need your help,” said Bettridge. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report any suspicious wildlife-related activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws to maintain healthy populations, and to also keep those recreating outdoors safe.”

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