Annual Report 2007-2008 - 26

level of law enforcement activity an enforcement contact to complaint ratio of less than 1/1000 of a percent was noted, indicating the professionalism with which officers are performing their duties. The high level of activity resulted in officers detecting 16,601 violations. Officers issued 6,441 citations for violations, but issued 10,160 warnings, indicating that they used a great deal of discretion in enforcing the game law. As another indicator of this good discretion and the officers’ technical 2007-08 competence, once again this year the successful prosecution rate was 96 percent, maintaining the 10-year average of more than 95 percent of cases that officers cite or make an arrest result in a successful prosecution. Officers also have shown that they focus their efforts on those violations with the most impact to the wildlife resources by the that fact that yet again this year, the number one violation officers prosecuted, with 847 successful prosecutions, was the unlawful taking of game or wildlife. The Special Investigations Unit conducted many investigations into the illegal sale of wildlife, resulting in more than 50 successful prosecutions for black marketing of wildlife. Unfortunately, officers have noted an increasing and disturbing trend in “thrill killing” incidents, where an individual or group kills large numbers of deer or other animals without any intent of using them. In one case a group of three poachers rode around until they located a herd of deer, then all three would open fire randomly into the herd, killing and wounding as many deer as possible and then just leaving to find another herd. A different group killed or wounded more than 50 deer in a period of several weeks and never made any attempt to retrieve any of the animals. Both groups were apprehended by officers and subsequently prosecuted, but these incidents are a clear indication of why more severe penalties are needed in the Game and Wildlife Code to deter this type of activity, and more appropriately, penalize those who do engage in wanton destruction of wildlife. Another major project of the bureau this year was the enhancement of the Turn in a Poacher program (TIP). Advances were made to the system to expand reporting options to an online report form and that system has been highly successful in increasing the amount of tips we receive to investigate. Almost half of all the reports that come in to the TIP program now are submitted in the electronic format. Officers thoroughly investigate all information received, and that resulted in charges being filed about 20 percent of the time from information received in the program, including cases with poachers killing multiple antlered deer. Even the information that may not have immediately resulted in a successful investigation is stored for future reference, and officers patrol the areas where poaching was reported with some additional intelligence that may help them in the future. The willingness of the public to help protect wildlife is critical to the accomplishment of our mission. Each WCO has an average district of more than 300 square miles to cover and, quite frankly, needs all the extra eyes and ears they can get to provide effective protection. Technology has made reporting poachers not only easier, but far more timely, as many hunters carry cell phones in the woods with them. The Bureau of Wildlife Protection encourages sportsmen to add the region office phone number for the area they hunt into the speed dial on their cell phones so that if a violation is observed it can be quickly reported, which is often the most critical factor in the success of an investigation. Visit the PGC website and click on the link for “help protect wildlife” to get region office numbers and the TIP hotline, as well as more information on what you can do. Information on the TIP program can also be found on pg. 94 (region office phone numbers on pg. 3) of the 2008-09 Hunting & Trapping Digest. 26 GAME NEWS

Annual Report 2007-2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Annual Report 2007-2008

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