Law Enforcement — Dec. 2010 Board Meeting


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Law Enforcement — Dec. 2010 Board Meeting

  1. 1. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Section
  2. 2. Law Enforcement Section • Utah’s statewide deer management plan specifically directs the Division to, “Support law enforcement efforts to educate the public concerning poaching and reduce illegal taking of deer.”
  3. 3. Law Enforcement Section What is our role in wildlife management? – We enforce regulations in support of DWR management practices and Wildlife Board policy – We level the playing field and ensure equal access to the state’s wildlife – We protect the investment of Utah sportsmen – We protect vital wildlife habitat
  4. 4. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources In recent years, Wildlife officers have seen a surge in deer poaching cases involving significant overlimits.
  5. 5. West Desert (Vernon Unit) Tooele County • Case Number 2009-000966 – Four subjects were reported to have been illegally taking mule deer from the West Desert (Skull Valley, Stansbury and Cedar Mountain Ranges) for over 20 years. – Subjects primarily killed mature buck mule deer beginning in November until the deer shed their antlers. – The group would “take turns“ killing deer. After the deer were killed, the antlers were often sawed off, hidden and retrieved at a later date. – It is also believed that the subjects would use other persons permits to illegally take wildlife during open season.
  6. 6. West Desert (Vernon Unit) Tooele County – Several search warrants have been served at various locations. Over 90 animals were seized, including Mule Deer, Antelope and Elk. – Currently, six individuals face numerous felony counts including: • The RICO ACT • Wanton Destruction of Protected Wildlife • Aiding / Assisting Wanton Destruction of Protected Wildlife • Tampering With Witnesses • Obstruction of Justice
  7. 7. Diamond Valley Washington County • Case Number 2009-000885 – DWR officers were contacted by a concerned citizen regarding suspected deer poaching near diamond valley. – DWR Officers ultimately confirmed five poached deer (4 does and a buck) at Esplin Vineyard. – Five individuals were arrested and charged with wanton destruction of protected wildlife for their involvement in the case.
  8. 8. Sand Mountain (Vernon Unit) Juab County • Case Number 2008- 120101 – Resulted from call to UTiP Hotline – Four individuals were ultimately charged with multiple felony counts of Wanton Destruction of Protected Wildlife – Deer were being killed at night on winter range – 17 buck deer heads were seized as a result of the investigation
  9. 9. Panguitch Deer Case Garfield County • Case Number 2009-000308 – Case resulted after receiving a call from a concerned citizen – Two individuals were charged with killing nine deer and two pronghorn
  10. 10. Trends – Winter Ranges targeted and buck/doe ratios affected – Deer are often shot and left to be later retrieved – All cases were brought to our attention by concerned citizens – In some cases multiple generations of the same family were involved
  11. 11. Strategies – Decrease social acceptance of poaching – increased emphasis on outreach. We strive to increase voluntary compliance – Prioritized placing officers in vacant districts and added personnel where possible, i.e. Book Cliffs – We will better define the role of our investigators and focus them on the most egregious violators – Further working to streamline administrative processes to maximize patrol time – Work to increase patrol efforts on targeted winter ranges, addressing any threats to vulnerable, wintering deer – Explore opportunities to create a public safety awareness campaign in an effort to reduce car/deer collisions
  12. 12. Additional Efforts – Habitat Protection • OHV Enforcement in regard to habitat destruction has been prioritized in field patrol efforts • We prioritize enforcement of road closures on DWR wildlife management areas to minimize impacts upon vulnerable wintering deer • OHV education is an integral part of our online antler-gathering education course
  13. 13. Additional Efforts – DWR conservation officers continue to assist other sections in the completion of their mission by assisting with non- enforcement duties
  14. 14. Our Impact – Wildlife management practices on trophy units could not be successful without the protection that we provide. – We deter potential violators and ensure equal opportunity to the state’s wildlife – We serve as partners with ethical sportsmen in protecting their investment – We work to ensure adequate habitat to support vulnerable deer herds