The Pryor Times

Sports

November 17, 2012

Help stop illegal kills

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife

Operation Game Thief is a program of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation designed specifically to stop illegal killing of the fish and game which belong to you, whether you’re a sportsman or not. It’s a big problem with no simple solution. Help from the public sportsmen, makes a difference.

One day before the opening of a recent deer season, two men killed four whitetail bucks.

Late one summer night, three men steered their boat across a state reservoir, stopped at their illegal net site and hauled in a load of striped bass and other open-water fish they could sell for $1 a pound on the commercial market.

In each of these examples, you were the loser. You lost hunting and fishing opportunities or the chance to view wildlife in their natural surroundings. At the same time, law-abiding sportsmen received a bad reputation from those who fail to distinguish between legal and illegal hunting. OGT is something everyone can do to help wildlife and help apprehend the poachers.

It is always better to call the game warden stationed in the county in which the violation occurred. Game wardens numbers are listed in the printed regulations or online. You can also report a violation by calling 1-800-522-8039 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can remain anonymous. You can download the Operation Game Thief Reporting Form fill it out and send it as an attachment to ddeckard@odwc.state.ok.us. Do not use this number or form for general information requests. General information may be obtained by phoning the Wildlife Department at (405) 521-3851.

Reward payments are made so that no one will ever know who received this payment. —not even the officer to whom you spoke with the telephone. Remember, the poacher is a criminal. His illegal activities steal from all of us, and takes hard cash out of the pockets of hunters and fishermen who pay for wildlife conservation programs through their license and permit fees and taxes on their equipment.

If you see a violation, or have knowledge of illegal fishing and hunting activity, do something about it; report it on the Operation Game Thief hotline or call your local game warden.

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