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Help Put Wildlife Thieves
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white-tailed buck

In Cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources 





TIP Cases 1985-2001
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Those who say that poachers are no different from other hunters are mistaken. Poachers use vehicles, spotlights, CB's, nets, and fish and bird traps--anything that will help them get meat, fur or fish. To a poacher, giving game a fair chance is a waste of time. Season, hour, bag limits, sex, age, license and methods mean nothing to a poacher. Nor do they confine their killing to game species. Threatened, endangered and nongame wildlife show up in the poacher's bag as well. A poacher, all too often, views the crime as a game--a slightly risky game.

Incidental poaching, to a number of people, is merely a matter of fun and games--just trying to outwit the conservation officer and maybe get a little eating meat in the process. But it is really a dirty business, because poachers are the same people who shoot livestock and road signs, or break into summer homes and steal. Poaching is stealing--from all Iowans.

Poachers can be dangerous; they will struggle frantically if it looks like they are going to be caught. Arrest records show that some of them thought they were out "just having a little fun"--they got a little drunk and decided to go out and knock over some deer. Others do it for money, and they do it well. Organized and efficient poaching rings have slaughtered thousands of pounds of venison and waterfowl.

Des Moines Airport Case:
Fall, 2002.
More Photos

Poaching is a problem everywhere, and here in Iowa it is serious. Thousands of deer are killed annually by poachers. No one knows exactly how many are taken, but authorities in some states estimate a kill equal to that of the legal harvest. If poachers kill even half that number each year, the problem is serious. People who will not believe that poachers are stealing from them do not care much about wildlife, and when the public does not care, poachers will continue to cheat and steal. The poacher who says they "need" the meat may as well say they "need" your livestock or your car. It is as wrong to steal from all Iowa citizens as it is to steal from an individual--the poacher is a thief! Actually, the truly poor people are not the ones who are poaching our wildlife. For those in genuine need, assistance programs are putting food on the table without harming wildlife. Poachers have money, and spend it on gas, driving around to find deer, and for cartridges, spotlights and CB radios. Poachers do not take only what they need; they take all they can get.

The Missouri Department of conservation, in a 1982 study of 400 convicted poachers, answered several questions about the profile of a poacher. About 42 percent of these people were drinking alcoholic beverages when they were apprehended. These offenders also were more likely to be belligerent and violent.

About 10 percent of them had records of previous wildlife violations, and 20 percent had been arrested previously for felony violations such as rape, murder, attempted murder, assault, manslaughter, burglary, larceny, armed robbery and various drug­-related charges. Unemployed violators indicated that they poached as much for fun as for meat. More than one-third of the convicted deer poachers admitted that they poached for recreation and the thrill of vandalism.

In fact, the people who affect our populations do not stop when they have meat or fish for their families. They keep killing and sell for profit. These people can afford to be arrested occasionally by conservation officers because their fines are replenished almost immediately by their illegal income. The only way to stop these thieves is to put them out of business. Citizens can cooperate with each other and with conservation officers to make poachers understand that we will not stand for this abuse of Iowa's fish and wildlife resources.

Studies have shown that deer violators can kill and transport deer in broad daylight without fear of being reported by people who see them doing it. Poaching will not be stopped until violators are afraid to trust anyone for fear of being reported.

Poachers, beware! There is a new way for Iowa's citizens to remain anonymous while they put an end to your selfish game. Turn in Poachers (TIP) is a program which provides a reliable coding method that allows citizens to call and report a violation, and collect a reward without anyone knowing who reported the crime.

Any citizen can report a poacher and collect the reward while remaining completely anonymous!




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