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Operation Game Thief Efficient, Effective in PA

September 19, 2016

HARRISBURG, PA - The Operation Game Thief program continues to efficiently route record numbers of tips about poaching and other wildlife crimes to Wildlife Conservation Officers statewide, Game Commission staff told the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today.

Operation Game Thief was launched in late September 2015, and its first three months handled a whopping 768 reports about poaching and illegal activity.

That's well above the number of tips coming into the Game Commission's hotline during a 12-month span in many years prior to Operation Game Thief's launch, said program co-administrator Chad Eyler.

And even though the peak for poaching activity is still a month or more away, 728 tips have come in so far in 2016, meaning last year's tip total could well double.

"The numbers prove it, Operation Game Thief is getting results in getting people to pay attention to and report poaching and crimes against wildlife," Eyler said. "At not yet a year old, the program already is a success."

Eyler pointed to a handful of reasons the program has been so effective.

Internationally, 41 states and Canadian provinces have an Operation Game Thief program, so the name is widely recognized.

Additionally, the Game Commission's Operation Game Thief program is designed for rapid response to violations and, in most cases, information is dispatched to officers within five minutes, Eyler said.

In its first year, Operation Game Thief was responsible for several large cases, including the unlawful taking of multiple trophy bucks. The hotline also has been used to submit reports of unlawful baiting in hunting areas, resulting in charges and preventing animals from being taken unlawfully.

Board of Game Commissioners President Brian Hoover called the program "phenomenal" and praised staff for the results it's getting.

Have you witnessed a wildlife crime involving a deer, turkey, bear or elk, or a species that is protected, endangered or threatened? Call Operation Game Thief's toll-free hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-PGC-8001. Reports also can be submitted online on the Law page of the Game Commission's website,



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