SALT LAKE CITY — Conservation officers with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources reported on Monday that a total of 1,056 animals were illegally poached in 2020.
While the number of poached animals dropped slightly in Utah from 2019, when the agency reported 1,080 animals illegally killed, the number of other citations rose.
“The overall number of violations detected by DWR conservation officers last year (this includes citations for unlawful take and wanton destruction) was 4,760, compared to 3,525 violations in 2019,” they reported.
“We need your help,” DWR Capt. Wyatt Bubak said. “Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and everyday citizens to enjoy.”
“Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.”
During 2020 the DWR suspended the hunting and fishing privileges of 35 people this year.
Vandalism on the rise
Out of the 4,760 citations issued by the state agency, 773 of those citations were for “wanton destruction.”
With that increase also came a rash of vandals.
Zion National Park chief ranger Daniel Fagergren described what he called miles of graffiti in southern Utah. “[It’s] more graffiti than I have ever seen before. It’s all over, and we’re trying to get ahead of it.”
Last month during a patrol of The Narrows one ranger collected more than 14 pounds of waste, nine of which was human feces.
“The graffiti was the worst I’ve ever seen, it seemed like the entire stretch I walked had something left on the rock,” Ranger John said. “All in all, I … cleaned probably 1,000 handprints or etchings in less than a mile.”
How to report poached animals in Utah
The DWR asks that anyone who sees suspicious hunting activity to call their 24-hour hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3337) or to report the activity online. Violators may face steep fines or revocation of hunting privileges, which can apply in other states as well.
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