Report poachers: All it takes is one call

Calvin Meyer
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Officer

These are all goals for the South Dakota TIPs program:

• Increase the awareness of poaching problems and resulting loss of recreational opportunity.

• Actively investigate all poaching violations in response to citizen reports.

• Protect the state’s fish and wildlife to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy these resources.

• Serve as a deterrent to those who may consider taking fish and wildlife illegally.

You may ask, “What is the TIPs program?” TIPs stands for Turn In Poachers and the program is a private, non-profit organization run by Wildlife Protection Incorporated. The Program is funded through donations from the big game license application check-off, private individual/group donations and through court ordered restitution. Rewards are paid in cash once an arrest is made, and informants can protect their identity and remain anonymous. Informants are eligible for rewards of up to $500 if an arrest is made. Higher rewards may be paid in extreme cases.

If you want to make a report, all it takes is one call to 1-888-OVERBAG (683-7224) to make a difference. You can also make reports online at tips.sd.gov and find the TIPs page on Facebook at facebook.com/SDTIPs.

The TIPs program began in 1984 after two large bull elk were killed in the Black Hills and left to waste in the field they were killed in. Concerned sportsman in the state helped get the program up and running. In the first year of its inception people throughout the state showed great support and the program was soon implemented throughout the state. Since the inception of TIPs in 1984 there have been over 11,919 investigations which have led to over 4,327. Poachers have paid over $814,187 in criminal fines and an additional $655,350 in liquidated civil damages have been assessed to these violators. The TIPs program has paid out more than $176,055 in cash rewards to individuals that have provided information that has been critical in achieving these results.

So as summer comes to an end and fall starts and hunting season come into full swing and fishing starts to pick up again be sure to report anything that looks out of place or if you see someone doing something illegal, all it takes is one call. You can have a part in protecting the state’s fish and wildlife to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy these resources. If it is not for the future generations think about it as poachers taking opportunity away from you or cheating at the same game you play.