1,050 wildlife illegally killed in Utah in 2019

Salt Lake City — Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers reported that 1,050 animals were illegally killed in Utah in 2019, a slight increase from the total number killed the year before.

An illegally killed buck deer
An illegally killed buck deer

The total combined value of the wildlife that was illegally killed was over $386,000. While more individual animals were illegally killed in 2019, the total monetary value was lower than in 2018, due to the monetary values assigned to different species in state law. As an example, a trophy fish is valued at $25, while a trophy elk is valued at $8,000. The average value of an illegally killed animal in 2019 was $369, while in 2018, it was $586. In 2018, 927 animals were illegally killed in Utah.

There were a total of 526 citations for unlawful take and wanton destruction in 2019, compared to 611 in 2018. The overall number of violations detected by DWR conservation officers last year was 3,525 violations, compared to 3,963 in 2018. One possible reason for the reduction in violations from 2018 to 2019 is that there were several vacant officer districts in 2019.

"Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal that legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts or everyday citizens have the opportunity to enjoy," DWR Sgt. Chad Bettridge said. "Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah's wildlife."

Residents are encouraged to report any suspicious hunting activity. You can call the UTiP hotline — 1-800-662-DEER (3337) — which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you witness a possible violation, and you can’t remember the hotline number, do a quick internet search on your phone or look at your hunting or fishing license — the number is printed on it.

"We need your help," Bettridge said. "Please keep your eyes and ears open and report suspicious activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws and keep our recreating public safe."

To learn about common illegal hunting mistakes, visit the DWR website.

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