Utah Officials Reveal Shocking Number of Animals Illegally Killed Since August 1

by Tia Bailey
Photo By RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

It is essential to maintaining wildlife that hunters follow laws. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and it results in illegal killings.

Officials in Utah shared how many animals have been illegally killed since August 1, and it’s a shockingly high number. Between August 1 and Friday, September 23, 319 wildlife animals have been illegally killed in the state.

Additionally, conservation officers have had to issue 569 citations following 4,347 license inspections. They have had to investigate several potential poaching cases in the state as well. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Lt. Chad Bettridge shared a statement about this news on Monday.

“Hunters need to take the responsibility of knowing the law, having a current hunting or combination license and knowing what species and areas their permits allow them to hunt before they go out into the field,” Bettridge said.

According to KSL, “Bettridge previously reported that 1,153 animals were killed illegally in 2021, including 52 trophy deer or elk and 241 nontrophy deer or elk. Cougars, bears, moose and bighorn sheep accounted for another 34 of the state’s illegally killed animals last year.”

Also, the size and species of the animal that was hunted determines whether the hunter’s actions are a misdemeanor or a felony.

People are encouraged to report any illegal activity in terms of hunting they see.

“We need your help,” Bettridge said. “Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws, which help with wildlife conservation and maintaining healthy populations and also keep our recreating public safe.”

People can report these actions by “calling the division’s poaching tip hotline at 1-800-662-3337 or texting officers at 847411. It can also be reported online or through the division’s law enforcement app.”

People in Several States Arrested for Illegal Animal Killings

This is sadly something that happens in many states, and it’s not as uncommon as people would think.

Earlier this month, a hunter in Georgia was accused of illegally killing a black bear. He had allegedly lured the bear with bait.

According to Georgia State Code, hunters are not allowed to use bait to lure animals to a certain area.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who are investigating the incident, said he’s been charged with killing the bear using illegal bait. However, since then, game wardens have filed a lesser charge against the hunter.

DNR Law Enforcement Division spokesperson Mark McKinnon spoke with Now Habersham about the incident.

“Both charges can apply,” McKinnon explained. “But the game wardens chose to charge him with the lesser violation of hunting big game over bait.”

Also a few weeks ago, a poacher was finally issued a huge fine after beheading a mule deer.

It is crucial that people report actions such as these to local wildlife services.