TIPs allows concerned citizens to get involved

TIPs allows concerned citizens to get involved Though the majority of the hunting seasons have ended, Bob Schuurmans says people who spend time outdoors should remember to reach for a phone whenever they see a violation of game and fish laws.

Schuurmans is coordinator of the Turn In Poachers (TIPs) program which allows concerned citizens to get involved in stopping poachers.

Apprehending violators, however, is only part of what TIPs has accomplished.

"One of the most important functions of an active anti-poaching hotline is that it can discourage potential violators," Schuurmans said. "When any citizen can quickly get in contact with a wildlife law enforcement officer, poachers have to think twice before breaking the law."

Anyone who witnesses a violation can call the nearest Game, Fish and Parks office or call TIPs toll-free at 1-800-592-5522. Callers will remain anonymous. Cash rewards are available to the person providing the tip upon arrest of the violator.

Before you call, it is important to get as much information as possible on the violation and the persons committing it.

Descriptions of people and vehicle, license numbers and precise details on the violation itself are all helpful.

An explanation of how to use the TIPs hotline is on the back cover of the annual Hunting Handbook and Fishing Handbook. It may be the biggest call you ever make.

Below is the latest TIPs summary:

TIPs for 1998

(July 1 to Dec. 31)

257 investigations with 106 arrests, many cases still open.

Dispositions: $22,535 in fines; $2,000 in civil penalties; 514 days of jail (506 days suspended).

Program Totals

1984 to Dec. 31, 1998

4,465 investigations with 1,521 arrests.

Dispositions: $279,391 in fines; $216,450 in civil penalties; 18,023 days in jail (16,775 days suspended); 1,904 community service hours; $50,480 in rewards paid.

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