Wildlife's Answer to 911
OPERATION GAME THIEF is a public awareness program that allows people to call in on a toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to report wildlife violations. Poaching is serious business in Arizona. There are only 156 commissioned officers in the Arizona Game and Fish Department and many of these officers only do enforcement part-time. The Department relies on the honest citizens of the State to assist in the reduction of wildlife violations.
POACHERS are thieves, and they are stealing from the citizens of Arizona. They are jeopardizing the future of wildlife resources in this state. This adversely effects everyone, not only residents, but those that come to Arizona to hunt and fish or simply enjoy the beauty that this State has to offer.
CALLERS will be kept CONFIDENTIAL if they so desire. This program began in 1979 and is the second oldest in the country providing a long record of proven credibility. Last year almost 720 calls were received on the hotline that resulted in cases being forwarded to officers.
CELLULAR PHONE calls to the OGT hotline have proven to be extremely beneficial. An officer's chances of apprehending the violator while he is still in the woods is greatly enhanced when the offense is reported immediately. Most calls to the Operation Game Thief hotline are now TOLL-FREE. If your service is provided by either Verizon or Alltell, simply enter # HUNT and you will be connected to the hotline.
THE HOTLINE has long tentacles. A caller may place a toll-free call not only within Arizona's boundary, but also from its border states, including Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and the southern half of California.
REWARDS of $50-$1,000 are offered in certain cases for information leading to the arrest of wildlife violators. Many states require a conviction before a reward can be offered. Not so in Arizona. If the information provided is enough to warrant a citation or physical arrest, rewards will be paid immediately. If desired, the reward will be offered confidentially. Funding for rewards comes from fines and civil penalties assessed to the poachers. In essence, the bad guys are paying the good guys for the crimes they commit.
OPERATION GAME THIEF
24 HOURS A DAY