Wardens use ‘Operation Game Thief’ to help catch poacher

Vt Fish & Wildlife photo
The Operation Game Thief display trailer gives people an opportunity to learn what they can do to help wardens stop and catch poachers.

Vermont State Game Wardens are asking Vermonters with information about fish and wildlife crimes to submit them through the Operation Game Thief program, a joint nonprofit program sponsored by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and administered by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The program provides a way for people to help protect the state’s fish and wildlife by reporting law violators 24/7 at 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378). Rewards are paid for information leading to arrests.

“Operation Game Thief is a great way for Vermonters to assist in reducing fish and wildlife violations by providing tips and information,” said Col. Jason Batchelder. “We’re asking people to call with details such as names and descriptions of perpetrators, and descriptions and plate numbers of vehicles whenever possible.”

To spread the word about the effort, game wardens have built an Operation Game Thief display trailer, sponsored in part by International Wildlife Crimestoppers and the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. It helpswardens as they do education and outreach at conferences and outdoor events.

“Poachers steal the opportunity for others to legally hunt and fish and may create an unfairly negative impression of hunting and fishing with the general public,” said Col. Batchelder. “They may also target threatened, endangered, or nongame species, such as a recent case in which a poacher shot a bald eagle.”

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