Operation Game Thief: Combating Poaching in New Mexico
The Impact of Poaching
Poachers are effectively stealing wildlife from the public, impacting hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Poaching disrupts wildlife management efforts, harms ecosystems, and reduces opportunities for legal hunting and enjoyment of wildlife.
Operation Game Thief (OGT)
- Silent Witness Program: OGT encourages the public to report illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking anonymously.
- Rewards System: Offers financial incentives for information leading to the arrest of violators. The reward varies based on the species involved, with the highest being $750 for elk or bighorn sheep cases, and other amounts designated for different types of wildlife.
- Funding: OGT is funded through donations rather than taxes or license fees, emphasizing community support against poaching.
Reporting and Rewards
- Hotline Available: A toll-free hotline (1-800-432-4263) operates 24/7, alongside the option to report violations online at the designated New Mexico wildlife website.
- Variety of Rewards: Specific rewards are given for various wildlife, including deer, oryx, pronghorn, and smaller game, as well as for instances where only a warning citation is issued.
- Supporting OGT: Individuals and organizations can contribute to OGT through tax-deductible donations, helping to fund rewards and promote anti-poaching efforts.
- Addressing Off-Road Vehicle Abuse: The New Mexico chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers offers rewards for reporting illegal OHV use that damages wildlife habitats and hunting areas.