WILDLIFE

Over 1,000 fish and wildlife illegally killed in Utah during 2023

Jan 10, 2024, 12:00 PM | Updated: 2:19 pm

A buck deer crosses in front of a truck in Oak City in November 2022. A new report from the Utah DW...

FILE: A buck deer crosses in front of a truck in Oak City in November 2022. A new report from the Utah DWR oulines how many wild animals and fish were killed illegally in Utah in 2023. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — During 2023, 1,056 wild animals and fish were illegally killed in Utah. 

According to a release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, 2023’s numbers were slightly lower than the number illegally killed in 2022. 

The release totaled over $619,000 in combined value of the wildlife illegally killed in 2023. In the previous year, the 1,283 wild animals illegally killed were valued at over $609,000. 

Of the 1,056 animals killed, 133 were deer, 150 elk, four moose, 11 bison, seven bears and 485 fish. Twenty-three of the 133 deer and 31 of the 150 elk were classified as “trophy” animals.

Small game animals, waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species made up the remaining illegally killed wildlife, according to the DWR. 

During the 2023 year, 4,567 violations were issued. The DWR said people were mostly cited for fishing or hunting without a valid license.

Furthermore, 46 people in 2023 had their hunting or fishing privileges suspended in Utah. That number was slightly higher in 2022 when 66 suspensions were issued. 

DWR Capt. Chad Bettridge said in the press release that by illegally killing animals, you’re stealing others’ ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife. 

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and everyday residents to enjoy,” Bettridge said. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.”

To report suspicious or illegal wildlife activities, call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline at 1-800-662-3337. Another way to report people is through the UTDWR Law Enforcement app, texting officers at 847411, or online through the DWR webpage

“Our officers can’t be everywhere at once, so we need your help,” Bettridge said in the release. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report any suspicious wildlife-related activity to us.”

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Over 1,000 fish and wildlife illegally killed in Utah during 2023