How The Program Works
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement developed the "Target Illinois Poachers" program to encourage any concerned citizen who witness a conservation offense to report the violation.
Citizens who want to report violations can call the toll-free telephone number, 1-877-2DNRLAW (1-877-236-7529) or you can report the violation by e-mail. (Please note: Information reported by e-mail will only be read on regular business days. On-going violations requiring immediate response, should be phoned in to insure a prompt response). All reports are confidential and are forwarded to a Conservation Police Officer for investigation.
What Should You Report?
Simply defined, "poaching" is the illegal taking or possession of game and non-game animals, fish or other resources. To recognize illegal acts, a basic knowledge of conservation regulations is necessary. Brochures describing hunting and fishing laws and seasons are available from the Department of Natural Resources or on the Department's system & licensing page.
Hunting out of season and hunting at night with spotlights are two of the most obvious signs of poaching. Hunters and fishermen possessing more than the legal limit is another. Slow moving or partially hidden vehicles, shots heard at unusual hours or game being concealed are all suspect. Pollution is another concern that can adversely affect wildlife. Dumping trash or other waste near a waterway can kill fish and other aquatic life.
If you suspect a violation has occurred, try to take down the following information:
- Auto - License number, color, make, year and other distinguishing features (example: "beater condition", camper shell, "mudder" tires, etc.)
- Violator - Name, address, age and physical description
- Violation - type of violation, where and when it occurred, and location of contraband.
All of this information may be invaluable to an enforcement investigation. Call or e-mail our office immediately. Accurate and timely information is essential.
Poaching is a Serious Crime
It robs legitimate sportsmen of game and fish, robs businesses and taxpayers of revenues generated by hunting and fishing, and robs us and future generations of a valuable resource - our wildlife. No one knows for sure the number of animals killed by poachers every year. Estimates indicate that poachers take as much fish and game as legitimate sportsmen do during the legal seasons. In addition, the poacher does not confine his kill to game species. Non-game, endangered or threatened wildlife are also included in the poacher's bag.
Who are the Poachers?
Poaching is surrounded by myths that just aren't true. Poachers are not poor people who are merely trying to feed their families. Putting food on the table is one of the least common motives. Poachers kill just for the thrill of killing and for profit. Poachers kill wildlife anywhere, anytime, and they can, using the most unsporting methods. Poachers often use expensive vehicles, guns and equipment purchased through their profitable trafficking in illegal wildlife.
To put it simply, poachers are criminals and should be dealt with as criminals.
Why Should You Report Poachers?
Despite their best efforts, it is not possible for Conservation Police Officers to apprehend all violators on their own. They need the guidance and assistance of the public to be most effective. Poachers are stealing your wildlife. Your help is needed to catch them. Remember, good law enforcement is everybody's responsibility. If you see a violation, report it with the application below, or call our office.