The public is the first line of enforcement for crimes involving fish and wildlife.
“Most of the cases our officers make are helped by tips from the public,” said Madonna Luers, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman in Spokane.
“The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has 83 conservation officers covering 84,000 square miles,” said agency spokesman Phil Cooper in Coeur d’Alene. In addition to wide coverage areas, officers also have a wide variety of duties to perform, including court testimony, that take them out of the field for about half of their allotted time.
The public’s eyes and ears are vital in combating poaching, he said.
But knowing how to contact fish and wildlife officers can be confusing.
Here are guidelines offered by the two agency spokespersons.
• Regular business hours, call the Idaho Fish and Game Department regional headquarters office in Coeur d’Alene, (208) 769-1414.
• Emergencies or violations reports can be made to the local sheriff’s office dispatch or the Idaho State Police, who have direct contact with Fish and Game conservation officers.
• The CAP – Citizens Against Poaching - hotline, (800) 632-5999, is toll-free and connects the caller with a live person 24 hours a day during hunting seasons. At other times of the year, a recording suggests what the caller should do. Callers can remain anonymous but leaving a call back number allows officers to get additional information if needed. Callers can also receive a reward for information that leads to a conviction.
• Call 911 for an urgent situation or violation in progress and let the dispatcher know immediately that you’re calling regarding about a wildlife emergency.
• Regular business hours, call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional headquarters in Spokane, (509) 892-1001.
• Emergencies or violations reports can be made to the local county sheriff’s office dispatch, especially in Stevens County.
• Call 911 for an urgent situation or violation in progress and let the dispatcher know immediately that you’re calling regarding a wildlife emergency and you’d like to speak with Washington State Patrol, whose dispatchers are in direct contact with on-duty Fish and Wildlife police.
• Poaching Hotline is a recording system for reporting non-emergency violations or poaching cases, (877) 933-9847.
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