DWR says deer, elk and fish among wildlife most commonly poached in Utah

Sep 13, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2023, 1:34 pm

Dogs chasing wildlife...

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says deer, elk and fish are the most common wildlife to be poached in the state.Bull Elk in Utah. Photos courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

SALT LAKE CITY — On, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced Tuesday 173 wildlife animals had been illegally killed since Aug. 1. While the DWR says most of those were fish, there were 15 big-game animals that were poached.

Capt. Chad Bettridge of the DWR law enforcement talked to KSL NewsRadio about what animals are being poached and the potential penalties. 


Above all else, Bettridge says Utah has a lot of animals to hunt and a lot of fishing opportunities as well. But a license for both is required in the state.

“But if don’t have those things or you don’t follow the rules that are in place, then you have illegally taken that animal, which is poaching,” he said.

Bettridge is asked: How do you know when poaching has occurred?

“So our officers go around, and their day-to-day is to patrol the back countries, the mountains and the waterways,” he said. “They check licenses. They check bag limits. They do things like this, and if they comes across somebody that’s fishing without a license and has caught some fish. Then that’s something they address.”

In such cases, Bettridge says a citation would be issued and the fish would be confiscated. 

What are the most common animals poached in Utah?

“Coming into the fall right now, it’s a great time to be a game warden,” Bettridge said.

With the onset of the deer hunt and elk hunt, big-game violations become more common, according to Bettridge.

Other than fish, he says deer are the most common animal poached in the state. Additionally, Bettridge says elk are also popular targets for poachers. 

The punishments for those who poach

What are the consequences of poaching?

Bettridge says simply taking one too many rainbow trout would result in a $25 fine. But there would be a class B misdemeanor associated with that. So you would end up paying any additional court fees on top of the $25.

He says the bigger the animal, the stiffer the penalty.

If a elk was illegally killed, Bettridge says that would be a felony. 

“Because an elk is valued at more than $500,” he said. “Just your everyday run of the mill elk is worth $750. And the Legislature has said that anything in value over $500 is a felony.”

To report a hunting violation online, click here

KSL at Night can be heard most nights from 7 to 9 p.m.

Read more:



We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is increasing the fish limit at Fall Creek and it's tributa...

Tammy Kikuchi

Fishing limit will increase ahead of lake poisonings

Before the Utah Division of Natural Resources can poison and reset, they are increasing the limit from 4 to 16 fish.

5 days ago

A large walleye caught in Lake Powell. Fish like this one have been illegally introduced to Strawbe...

Tammy Kikuchi

Reward offered for Strawberry Walleye invasion

The DWR is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who illegally introduced walleye fish to Strawberry Reservoir.

6 days ago

Cadillac, a mare at Upper Creek Ranch, delivered "one in a million" twins on Mother's Day. ...

Britt Johnson

“One in a million” twin horses born on Mother’s Day

It was a Mother's Day miracle! The mare, Cadillac, was expecting a foal.  No one knew she was expecting twins. 

7 days ago

The design for the new Great Salt Lake license plate includes a pelican flying across the Great Sal...

Ben Winslow, Fox 13

Specialty Great Salt Lake license plate needs support to become reality

A new license plate that would focus on the Great Salt Lake could be made with the help of Utahns who sign up to make the plate a reality.

10 days ago

Utah's Morning News host Tim Hughes discusses how to talk turkey and other requirements you'll need...

Tim Hughes

It’s not too late to hunt turkeys in Utah

Twice a year, Utah allows you to participate in wild turkey hunting. The spring hunting season continues through May 31. 

11 days ago

millsite state park sign shown, bucket biologists maybe threaten wildlife in the reservoir...

Tim Hughes

Bucket biologists threaten fish in Millsite Reservoir, don’t make the same mistake

Bucket biologists transport a species of fish from one lake to another, but be warned that this is dangerous and illegal.

20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

DWR says deer, elk and fish among wildlife most commonly poached in Utah