Record use in 2012 of a hotline by law-abiding hunters and anglers to report suspicious game and fish activity led to a 29 percent increase in arrests by conservations officers, the MInnesota Department of Natural Resources says.
Calls to the state's Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline rose to 2,051 in 2012, a 54 percent increase from 2011, the agency said.
Most of the resulting 359 arrests were tied to deer, fish and waterfowl violations.
The record high number of DNR poaching arrests was 428 in 1991.
“Many good cases are the result of citizens calling the TIP hotline at 800-652-9093,” said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement director. "A conservation officer has only one set of eyes and covers 650 square miles. If the public is concerned about natural resources, every person is another set of eyes that can help catch those violating the law.”
According to the DNR, multiple calls to TIP last May helped conservation officer Eric Schettler of Fairmont catch three poachers with 198 crappies more than the legal limit and three walleyes out of season. Restitution and fines totaled $1,550.
Since 1981, TIP has paid nearly $358,000 in rewards for information leading to arrests. Nearly half of informants turn down rewards.
The 24 hour toll-free TIP hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.