Verb: to take (game or fish) by illegal methods
Poaching has evolved as much as hunting and fishing itself. Centuries ago poaching deer meant death, unless you were royalty. In the 1700’s and early 1800’s poachers were hanged or deported to other countries, like Australia, to serve a life sentence. Most of what you hear today about poaching comes from Africa and is definitely a problem. It is being addressed with severe penalties. Those penalties include long term prison sentences. However, there’s another country with an ever-increasing poaching problem. That country is America.
Modern day poaching involves many more species and definitions today than it did in the 1500’s. Today the taking of game out of season or harvesting over the limit is poaching, trespassing or using the wrong caliber firearm or any other illegal means of taking game or fish is also poaching. Today we have officials that set limits and rules that help maintain game and fish at numbers needed for hunters and anglers to be successful. This encourages recruitment of new hunters and anglers. It also ensures these outdoor pursuits are available for generations to come. All vital for the future of wildlife management.
A large part of the funding for managing fish and game comes from license purchases we make. When someone poaches deer, from private or public lands, it directly affect the reasons that person purchased a license. By illegally taking game and fish you directly alter the numbers needed for officials to make sound decisions year after year. The law-abiding license holder has a limit and a season based on these decisions. Not only does a poacher not contribute to the funds to help maintain wildlife or follow those limits and seasons, they also directly manipulate the numbers that help officials manage sustainable numbers for game and fish.
With modern day poaching on the rise, many states are coming up with modern day tactics to combat it. Most people have heard of the taxidermy deer with motorized moving parts. I remember one, it may have been the first of its type. It was named Timex. Timex was state of the art back then and it worked. Today there are infrared cameras that can detect the difference between an animal and a human walking in the woods and when a human form is detected the cameras send a signal. This alerts officials of a possible poaching situation. There is even a shockwave detector that can detect the shockwave of gunfire. This advanced technology can be located in areas where officials know if there’s a gunshot more than likely it was a poacher.
While the above technology works great, it has to be located in the right place at the right time. There is an equally effective tool available to game and fish officials today and that’s you and I. Law abiding citizens are fed up with poachers that steal from them. By illegally taking game and fish, poachers are essentially stealing opportunities from you. The opportunities that you purchased your license to enjoy.
Have you ever had that epic day of fishing when the bluegills are spawning and before you know it you’re at your limit for the day? You stop at your limit and leave the rest for another day or another angler. A poacher will sit there and clean out the entire population of spawning bluegills leaving you with a lost opportunity. Even if you didn’t know about that spawning pocket the opportunity to find it is gone, because a poacher wiped them out. This is just a simple example of a much more complex problem when it comes to poaching. You probably wouldn’t believe some of the things going on out there. I’m in the outdoor communicating business and hear new stories all the time. It really is a problem. Thankfully there is an organization out there fighting to put an end to poaching.
This organization is the TIP program or the Turn in a Poacher program and many states have adopted the program. Indiana is one of those states and with your help Indiana plans to put a stop to poaching. We the people must be the modern day gamekeepers to protect our resources. It’s time that we all get involved in managing the outdoor opportunities we all pay for. See below for more information on the Turn in a Poacher or TIP program for Indiana.
What is TIP?
Turn in a Poacher, Inc. (TIP) is a non-profit conservation organization that works hand-in-hand with Indiana DNR Law Enforcement to protect our fish and wildlife resources by increasing public support and involvement in bringing violators to justice.
A poacher is a thief who illegally steals wildlife that belongs to each Indiana citizen. Poachers rob licensed, ethical hunters and anglers from recreational opportunities they bought through license fees.
Citizens can help stop poachers in two ways:
- Call 1-800-TIP-IDNR if you see, hear or learn about a poacher or another fish and wildlife violation. If your “TIP” leads to an arrest, you may receive as much as a $200 reward, and you can remain anonymous.
- Become an honorary member of the Turn in a Poacher Advisory Board (www.tip.wildindiana.com). Annual and lifetime memberships are available, and all proceeds from memberships go directly to assisting Indiana DNR Law Enforcement with catching poachers. (TIP hats and gear also available).
More information is available at https://secure.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/2745.htm.