By Jake Jones
No, it’s not the Department of Homeland Security, but South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks says if you suspect a poaching incident, report it! In SD, the fall hunting season is now in full swing, and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is reminding hunters who see illegal activities to call the Turn In Poachers (TIPS) hotline at 888-OVERBAG (683-7226).
From July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, a total of 394 Tip's cases were investigated. Those investigations led to 146 arrests or citations. As a result of successful cases closed during that period, poachers were assessed more than $27,000 in fines and were sentenced to 1,730 days in jail. Offenders were also assessed almost $50,000 in civil damages.
The hotline, which is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allows people to report information about wildlife violations - and if they choose - remain anonymous. Those who would prefer to email Tip's reports may do so on the GFP website.
Wildlife Protection, Inc., the nonprofit agency handling TIPS rewards, paid $8,725 to those who took the initiative to report wildlife violations.
Since the beginning of the South Dakota Tip's Program in 1984, there have been more than 10,000 investigations, leading to more than 3,000 arrests or citations. Violators have been required to pay $650,000 in fines and more than $500,000 in civil damages.
During the same 28-year period, nearly $130,000 in TIPS rewards have gone to witnesses who provided information on violations.