If you’re a poacher, you should think twice before pulling the trigger on a mule deer in Utah.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officers are trying to stop the illegal killing of mule deer in Utah this winter, making it the largest winter range patrols ever conducted in the state.
“As Utahns celebrate the holidays and usher in a new year, our officers will be busy protecting the state’s mule deer herds from poachers—thieves who steal wildlife from present and future generations of ethical sportsmen,” says Mike Fowlks, chief of the DWR’s Law Enforcement Section. “We won’t tolerate deer poaching in Utah,” Fowlks says. “We’re pulling out all the stops and using all the means we have to protect Utah’s deer herds.”
Poaching is easier during the winter as mule deer are heading towards lower elevations. The bucks are also less wary because the breeding season is underway or it just finished. So far in 2011, wildlife officers have investigated the illegal killing of 189 mule deer in Utah.
The following are among the things the DWR is doing:
- Patrolling winter ranges at night. Officers are conducting these patrols on land and from the air.
- Conducting saturation patrols that put several DWR officers on the same piece of winter range at the same time.
- Enlisting volunteers from sportsman groups to serve as additional ‘eyes and ears.’
The volunteers patrol the winter ranges. They have the means needed to report what they see and hear directly to the nearest DWR officer. Patrols are underway across Utah and will continue through the winter.
Fowlks says five areas in Utah are receiving special attention:
- The desert areas on the western side of Utah
- The southwestern corner of the state
- The Paunsaugunt deer unit in southern Utah
- The Henry Mountains unit in southeastern Utah
- The Book Cliffs unit in eastern Utah
Officers encourage the public to be alert. If you see something suspicious, you are asked to call Utah’s Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline at 1-800-662-3337. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The monetary value of the animals to Utah’s citizens is $242,800.