Know the consequences
Wildlife crime convictions are serious and far-reaching.
Because Utahns value wildlife so highly, convicted poachers face steep consequences. In addition to paying fines and restitution, poachers may also face jail time, the confiscation of hunting equipment and the loss of hunting and fishing privileges in multiple states.
Fines and restitution
When someone is convicted of illegally killing or possessing protected wildlife, they often must make restitution payments. These payments go into the Help Stop Poaching Fund, which pays rewards to hunters who help catch and convict poachers. To learn more, see Utah Code §§ 23-20-3 and 23-20-4.
The Utah Legislature has set the following amounts as minimum restitution for Utah's trophy animals:
- $30,000 for bighorn sheep (desert or Rocky Mountain)
- $8,000 for deer (24-inch antler spread or larger)
- $8,000 for elk (with six points on at least one side)
- $6,000 for moose or mountain goat
- $6,000 for bison
- $2,000 for pronghorn
You can read more about restitution payments at Utah Code § 23-20-4.
License suspension across the country
When the DWR determines that a poacher's crime is intentional or reckless, that person may lose the right to hunt and fish in Utah and many other states. Utah is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which is an agreement among 47 U.S. states to honor each others' decisions to deny licenses and permits to poachers.
The map below shows the states that participate in the compact. When people lose hunting and fishing rights in one of them, they won't be able to hunt or fish in any of the others.
This map was current on October 1, 2019