By Wayne Hooper
All states — including Maine and New Hampshire — have laws regarding poaching.
In New Hampshire, Operation Game Thief is an anti-poaching program that encourages the public to get involved and report any suspicious activity any time of the year. The toll-free hotline at (800) 344-4262 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If reporting suspicious activity, try to get as much information as possible, like date, a vehicle description, a license number, the road/route, time, violation, travel direction and a description of the person.
If the person committing the crime is a neighbor, give the address and what crime was committed. Your name and address will be protected and you will not have to appear in court unless you want to appear.
In Maine, the toll-free number is (800) 253-7887. Rewards of up to $1,000, based on severity, are paid for information that leads to the arrest or summons being issued for a fish or wildlife violation.
Rewards of up to $2,000 are paid for information that leads to the arrest or summons being issued to individuals unlawfully introducing non-native fish species into Maine's waters.In all cases, the caller remains anonymous, and does not have to reveal his or her name or testify in court.
This is a serious problem, even though many people who kill animals without a license or out of season do so to the meat to sustain their and their family’s life. However, it is still poaching.For every animal that is killed, that means that there is one less animal to father or to mother a little one. So the cycle of life is disrupted. In the squirrel, chipmunk area this might not be as important as it is in the deer, moose, wildcat or bobcat families, but it is still illegal.
Don’t hesitate — make the call and let’s keep poachers out of our woods.