TIP, an acronym for Turn in a Poacher or Polluter, is a hotline people can use to report poaching.
While officials know poachers don't wait for legal hunting times, hunting season increases the likelihood that licensed, ethical hunters will encounter poaching, which is the illegal taking of fish, game or non-game wildlife.
A common form of poaching is shining a spotlight across a field for the purpose of searching and shooting at deer or other wildlife from a vehicle. Officials consider this to be unsportsmanlike and realize that ethical hunters may be more likely to witness violations.
"True sportsmen have an ethical responsibility to report this violation," DNR Division of Law Enforcement Public Information Officer Lt. Mark Farmer wrote in a recent press release. "It is not fair to the honest hunter that a poacher can get away with this illegal method of hunting. Poachers are thieves and estimates indicate that poachers kill as much fish and game as legal hunters and fishermen do."
According to Public Information and Conservation Officer Max Winchell, the hotline can also be used to report polluters.
"People can use the hotline to report individuals whose dumping is making a negative impact on the environment and is detrimental to fish and wildlife," Winchell told The Brazil Times.
People are not required to give their personal information or testify in court if they use the hotline, but all information provided is investigated by Indiana Conservation Officers until a conclusion.
"There are many ways we work with people to protect their identity, but it would be best if a person talked with an officer," Winchell said. "Often, through normal conversation, an officer can pick up on a specific detail of importance a person might not think is valuable, but it can be exactly what is needed to develop the case."
TIP Inc., a not-for-profit organization comprised of various Indiana sporting groups, offers cash rewards up to $200 to individuals whose information leads to the arrest of fish and wildlife law violators or polluters.
The toll-free TIP phone number is 1-800-TIP-IDNR (1-800-847-4367), or complaint forms are also available at tip.IN.gov.
"I work several TIP cases throughout the year and I really encourage people to use the hotline," Winchell said. "By doing so, they can help the DNR to protect our natural resources."
For more information, contact the Indiana Department Natural of Natural Resources of District Five Headquarters, 1317 W. Lieber Rd. Suite No. 2, Cloverdale, at (765) 795-3534 or log onto http://www.in.gov/dnr/.
Deer Hunting Season
During deer hunting season, two inevitable questions seem to always pop up.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has the answers.
Question: If I shoot a deer and it goes on a neighboring property, can I legally retrieve the deer?
Answer: Unless you have permission from the landowner, preferably written, you may not go onto his/her property to retrieve/track the deer.
Question: What do I do if a landowner does not give me permission to retrieve the deer I shot?
Answer: Contact your local Conservation Officer for assistance in retrieving the deer. He/she may be contacted via the local Sheriff's department or the DNR Law Enforcement District for your county. The landowner can still legally refuse to give up the deer.
Officially starting 30 minutes before sunrise and lasting until 30 minutes after sunset of each day, the following dates make up the 2009 deer-hunting season:
Oct. 1, 2009- Nov. 29, 2009
Nov. 14, 2009- Nov. 29, 2009
Dec. 5, 2009- Dec. 20, 2009
Dec. 5, 2009- Jan. 3, 2010
According to the Indiana DNR, all harvested deer must be checked within 48 hours of harvest at an official deer check station.
For more information, log onto the Indiana DNR website at http://www.in.gov/dnr/.