Pennsylvania Game Commission Tip Line Open to Witness of Game Law Violations
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has established a “Turn-In-a-Poacher” program to strengthen the Commonwealth’s efforts to apprehend people who are suspected of killing threatened or endangered species or multiple big game animals.
“The program encourages citizen involvement by offering a reward to callers who provide ‘tips’ that lead to the prosecution of an individual or individuals who kills endangered or threatened species or unlawfully take multiple big game animals, which includes deer, bear, wild turkey and elk,” said Richard Palmer, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Protection director. “You can get involved by either calling a toll-free-telephone number – 1-888-PGC-8001 – or filling out an online ‘TIP’ Reporting Form.”
Online TIP forms can be accessed via the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), scroll down and select the “Turn In a Poacher” icon in the right-hand column, and then click on “‘TIP’ Reporting Form.”
The TIP program was authorized by the General Assembly as part of a legislative package to deter crimes against wildlife. The act authorizes the Game Commission to increase by $200 fines against individuals convicted of killing threatened or endangered species or unlawfully taking multiple big game animals. That money is then placed in a special fund from which $100 will be used to pay the individual providing the “tip,” and the remainder is used to help offset the costs of running the TIP program.
“Calls to the TIP telephone number are always answered by a secure recording device,” Palmer said. “Tips submitted using the new on-line reporting system will be delivered electronically to a special email account in the agency’s Bureau of Wildlife Protection. Access to the recording device and e-mail account is limited to ensure confidentiality and program integrity. Both methods of reporting are available to the public 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
“People who provide ‘tips’ can choose to remain completely anonymous, particularly if you’re not interested in a reward for your efforts to help wildlife and fight criminal activity against it. But, if you would like to claim a reward you’re entitled to, you’ll have to provide a way for the agency to let you know that your information led to the successful prosecution of the accused individual and that the reward is yours.
Information about other crimes against wildlife – such as the illegal harvest of a single deer, bear or elk, crimes on State Game Lands – still is of great interest to the Game Commission, but should be reported to the appropriate agency Region Office serving the county in which the violation(s) occurred.
“Remember, every time another individual gets involved with reporting crimes against wildlife and wild places, Pennsylvania’s great outdoors improves,” Palmer said.