Saturday, January 15, 2011

TIP hotline has very effective 2010

An anonymous call to Minnesota’s Turn-in-Poachers (TIP) hotline recently led a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to a man who had allegedly poached a trophy buck in Hugo.

The man is facing $10,000 in fines and restitution, and loss of his hunting privileges for three years if convicted.

Information from the public leads to the vast majority of arrests for hunting and fishing violations in Minnesota, said DNR conservation officer Alex Gutierrez of Forest Lake.

“With the number of vacant field stations, the extra set of eyes provided by the public has never been more important,” Gutierrez said. “TIP is an invaluable asset to conservation officers.”

Since 1981, TIP has provided a toll-free hotline, 800-652-9093, for poaching information and rewards for arrests and convictions of game and fish violators.

TIP’s aggressive anti-poaching message has been showcased (until recently, see related release on vandalism) in two “Wall of Shame” trailers containing the mounts of wildlife confiscated as a result of arrests for violations of Minnesota game laws.

Minnesota’s TIP hotline was very effective 2010. Investigations into 1,699 TIP calls resulted in 299 arrests and a total of $6,690 in rewards paid. That compares to 1,355 TIP calls, 237 arrests, and $4,350 in rewards paid in 2009.

TIP helps to stop wildlife poachers, but that is only part of what TIP has accomplished, noted Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement director.

“The TIP hotline actually discourages violations, and with most people carrying cell phones, keying in #TIP can quickly report a violator,” Konrad said. “All sportsmen/women, landowners, citizens and wildlife benefit from poachers being caught.”

When a person calls TIP, information such as how many violators, vehicle description with any license numbers and details of what happened are important to the conservation officer who will be dispatched to handle the call.

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