Elk NetworkMore than 1,200 Utah Wildlife Poached in 2022

General | January 6, 2023

Below is a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. For 2023, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

A total of 1,283 wild animals and fish were illegally harvested in Utah in 2022, slightly higher than the number poached in 2021.

The total combined value of the wildlife illegally killed last year was approximately $609,561. Some of the animals illegally killed last year include:

  • 179 deer
  • 134 elk
  • Five moose
  • One mountain goat
  • One bear
  • 14 cougars
  • 782 fish

The remaining illegally killed wildlife included small game animals, waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species.

A total of 1,153 wild animals were illegally killed in Utah in 2021, and they were valued at more than $610,000 (because several of the big game animals were classified as “trophy” sized). In 2020, a total of 1,079 animals — valued at over $387,000 — were killed illegally in the state. In 2019, a total of 1,065 animals were taken unlawfully, with a combined value of more than $384,000.

A total of 4,074 citations were issued in 2022, a slight decrease from the 4,394 citations issued in 2021. Last year, individuals were most often cited for fishing without a valid license.

In 2022, 66 people had their hunting or fishing privileges suspended in Utah, compared to 54 suspensions in 2021 and 35 in 2020. In 2019, the hunting or fishing privileges for 84 people were suspended. Utah is a member state of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. License suspensions in Utah are recognized in all the other states in the U.S., except Hawaii.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and everyday residents to enjoy,” DWR Capt. Chad Bettridge said. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.”

Here are the various ways you can report illegal or suspicious wildlife activities:

The text line was implemented in 2021, and 567 tips were submitted through it last year, many of which resulted in successful investigations and prosecutions of wildlife-related crimes. The hotline number received 1,010 tips this year.

“Our officers can’t be everywhere at once, so we need your help,” Bettridge said. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report any suspicious wildlife-related activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws to maintain healthy populations, and to also keep those recreating outdoors safe.”

Not all wildlife violations are committed intentionally. To learn about common illegal hunting and fishing mistakes, visit the DWR website.

(Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)