The Pennsylvania Game Commission has established a "Turn-In-a-Poacher" program to strengthen the Commonwealth's efforts to apprehend people who are suspected of killing threatened or endangered species or big game animals, and a witness report was instrumental in securing a successful conviction. You can get involved by either calling a toll-free-telephone number - 1-888-PGC-8001 - or filling out a "TIP" Reporting Form.
The TIP program was authorized by the General Assembly as part of a legislative package to deter crimes against wildlife. The act authorizes the Game Commission to increase by $500, fines against individuals convicted of killing threatened or endangered species or unlawfully taking big game animals. That money is then placed in a special fund from which $250 will be used to pay the individual providing the "tip," as long as the district justice imposes the additional $500 fine. The additional fine money will be used to maintain the TIP Hotline.
Calls to the TIP telephone number are always answered by a secure recording device. Tips submitted using the new on-line reporting system will be delivered electronically to a special email account in the agency's Bureau of Wildlife Protection. Access to the recording device and e-mail account is limited to ensure confidentiality and program integrity. Both methods of reporting are available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
People who provide "tips" can choose to remain completely anonymous, particularly if you're not interested in a reward for your efforts to help wildlife and fight criminal activity against it. But if you would like to claim a reward you're entitled to, you'll have to provide a way for the agency to let you know that your information led to the successful prosecution of the accused individual and that the reward is yours.
Information about other crimes against wildlife - the illegal harvest of a single deer, bear or elk, crimes on state game lands, etc. - is still of great interest to the Game Commission, but should be reported to the appropriate agency Region Office serving the county in which the violation(s) occurred. Remember, every time another individual gets involved with reporting crimes against wildlife and wild places, Pennsylvania's great outdoors improves.