Do You Care About Wildlife?
Operation Game Thief (OGT) 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 an angler, sportsman or outdoor enthusiast. It’s a big problem with no simple solution. Help from public sportsmen and women makes all the difference. Here’s why:
- One day before the opening of a recent deer season, two poachers 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 us apprehend the poachers.
What to Look For When Reporting a Violation: Getting the information a game warden will need
When reporting a violation, please note as many facts as possible. You will be asked a variety of questions and the more information you can provide, the better chance the violator can be caught, and the case successfully prosecuted. Do not attempt to stop a violation yourself or to detain those responsible. Be safe, and be a good witness!
- What happened? What type of violation was it? When and where did it happen? Give the date, time and location, number of shots, etc.
- Give as much information as possible about the suspect or suspects- name, address, telephone, physical description (age, weight, height, hair color, eyes, clothing and any other pertinent information).
- Were firearms involved in the violation? Was the firearm visible or is it concealed in some way? Describe the number and type of weapons.
- Describe the suspect’s vehicle – make, year, color, style. License number and any other distinguishing feature like rusted spots or mismatched paint and dents?
- What animals or fish were involved, how many, and where are they now?
- Do you know about any other physical evidence – like hides, entrails, guns, cartridge cases, knives and such?
- Has the illegal game or evidence been moved or will it be moved soon? How is it being transported, and where is it being stored?
- Were there other witnesses? Give their names and any other information about the violation, suspect or violations that you may have noted.
It is always best to call the game warden stationed in the county in which the violation occurred. Game wardens numbers are listed in the Game Wardens section 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.