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NC WRC New Turn-In-Poachers Program

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“Wildlife crimes affect us all, whether we are hunters, anglers, trappers, bird watchers or just someone who enjoys walking in the woods,” said Lt. B.J. Meyer, assistant training director and communications supervisor for the Commission’s Law Enforcement Division. “Despite our constant efforts, it is not possible for our officers to apprehend all violators on their own. We need the guidance and support of the public to be most effective, so we rely on our citizens to assist in the reduction of wildlife crimes.”

The Turn-In-Poachers program was developed in partnership with the N.C. Bowhunters Association to implement Session Law 2013-380, which established the Wildlife Poacher Reward Fund. The fund receives at least 10% of replacement and investigative costs (by court order) from adjudicated cases. Additional money to support the fund comes from wildlife law violators themselves, who are required to pay restoration fees directly to the NCWRC. The restoration fee replenishes the fund in the amount of the reward paid out to capture the poacher.

“Poaching includes the illegal take of game, fish, plants, trespassing, littering, theft, and destruction of property,” Lt. Meyer added. “With this new program and partnership, we can work together to protect our resources for the future enjoyment of all North Carolinians.”

These rewards range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the severity of the crime and the fines assessed by the court. You can find a complete list of eligible violations visit the WRC website, www.ncwildlife.org. All tips received through the program will remain anonymous. However, to be eligible for the reward, you must provide the NCWRC with your name and contact information.

The WRC offers four ways to submit tips: Via internet: https://www.tipsubmit.com/webtipsstart.aspx; Mobile app: To install the free app, search for “TipSoft” or “TipSubmit” in the Google Play store (Android) or the Apple App Store (iOS); Via text: To submit an anonymous tip through text messaging, type WILDTIP and your message, then send it to 274637 (CRIMES on most cell phones). Texts are anonymous, so senders must identify themselves in the body of the text in order to claim a reward. Message and data rates may apply; Lastly via phone: To submit a tip via phone, for reward or anonymously, dial 1-855-WILDTIP. The hotline is available 24 hours a day to handle calls from concerned citizens. This phone number is only for poaching-specific violations. For all other wildlife violations, questions and concerns, call 1-800-662-7137.

As an avid outdoorsman, I am glad they finally rolled this program out. I have the opportunity to talk with numerous WRC Enforcement officers. Anyone who thinks we don’t have a poaching problem is sadly mistaken. I would guess that here in the mountains deer and bear are most affected and I’m sure there are some turkeys poached also. They way I see it poachers are stealing from law abiding hunters and anglers and giving us a bad name in the process. Please support the WRC in stopping this criminal activity. Use one of the methods above whenever you see or hear of a poaching incident.

It’s hard to believe, but there are only about six week remaining in the regular hunting season. Both deer and bear season are over. It’s pretty much small game from here on. Dove season ends this Friday, January 15th. There is still some waterfowl hunting for ducks until the end of the month and geese until the middle of February. Quail, grouse, rabbit, and squirrel all continue to the end of February.

I share the frustration of a lot of deer hunters. We heard from many at the store about what a tough season it was to pattern deer between the warm weather and soaking rain. I’ve had the same problem patterning geese this year and it has been tough getting out to grouse hunt between the weather and work. So let’s take advantage of time remaining and get out in the woods!

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