OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Division of Wildlife Resources warns of poaching as hunting season begins

Sep 26, 2022, 5:30 PM

Remaining permits for elk and deer hunts this fall will be available to purchase in July....

DWR is warning hunters of poaching as hunting season begins. They say many instances of poaching happen by accident. Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

SALT LAKE CITY — As hunting season ramps up, so does poaching. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says Hunters should make sure they are well-educated before they head out.

Over three hundred wildlife have been illegally killed since August. DWR Captain, Chad Bettridge, says a lot of cases are accidental.

“It happens every year. People go out, you know, sometimes they just make mistakes,” he says. “Sometimes they see an animal that they think is a buck or a bull, and they shoot it, and it ends up being a doe or a cow. If they don’t have a license for the animal that they take, then it becomes an illegally killed animal.”

Bettridge advises that hunters understand the boundaries of their tag.

“Once you get up there and you start hiking around and you find some animals or wildlife, … take your time, settle down and make sure of your shot,” he says.

If a hunter accidentally shoots an animal that they don’t have a tag for it is considered poaching. The best thing they can do is contact the DWR and report the issue to avoid facing heavier penalties.

“If you go out and blatantly, on purpose, poach an elk, it’s a third-degree felony and you’ll have to pay restitution of up to $8,000,” he says.

Bettridge says being educated and making sure scopes and binoculars are in working order can help hunters avoid problems.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this article.

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Division of Wildlife Resources warns of poaching as hunting season begins