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Kansas resource officers focus on poachers

From the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

-- Each year, Kansas natural resource officers (NROs) check approximately 60,000 hunters in the field, and about 96 percent of them are found to be law abiding sportsmen and women. Although the vast majority of hunters are ethical, they have to deal with that small percentage who are not.

With 73 NROs to cover the entire state, so Kansas officers request the help of hunters - and anyone who enjoys the outdoors - to watch for those who don't take wildlife crime seriously.

The easy way to combat this problem is to call the toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at (877) 426-3843.

All calls received through the Operation Game Thief line are immediately relayed to the natural resource officer nearest the violation. The line is available anytime day or night, every day of the year. Callers remain anonymous.

Nothing spoils a good hunt more than that small percentage of unethical hunters.

Although they seldom describe themselves as such, unethical hunters are more properly called poachers. These are the people who trespass, road hunt, litter, take more than their bag limit, drink while they hunt, use illegal equipment, take game out of season, take wildlife for which there is no season or vandalize. While such behavior is the exception, poachers not only damage the natural resources they should be committed to conserving, they reflect poorly on all hunters in the eyes of the general public.

Operation Game Thief calls have resulted in arrests and convictions on violations ranging from public lands vandalism to deer poaching. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. Even drug operations have been uncovered by alert hunters using the hotline number.

Officers advise callers to never confront suspects, but provide information such as vehicle descriptions and license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations and the time and location the incident occurred will greatly aid law enforcement.

The more specific the information is, the easier it is for natural resource officers to investigate the case.

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