Indiana Turn in a Poacher (TIP) Program

When I heard about a dandy 208-inch buck stolen from honest hunters and killed close to my home in Holland, Indiana, I was upset to say the least. This deer, or any deer for that matter, deserves to go to a proud, honest, ethical hunter. The question is how do we, as law-abiding hunters, put an end to thievery?

Mark Gill found out that crime does not pay. Thanks to honest citizens and the Turn in a Poacher program, he no longer owns the beautiful 208-inch trophy.

Turn in a Poacher (TIP) program is perfect for anyone that wants to advise the authorities of those committing crimes against us. TIP is not limited to just deer. They field all wildlife violations. When TIP receives a complaint, they spring into action. This non-profit organization works alongside our amazing Indiana Department of Natural Resource (IDNR) Law Enforcement police commonly referred to as Conservation Officers or Game Wardens. Those reporting can remain anonymous or not. If the tip results in an arrest, there is a reward offered to you. That reward can be as high as $200. The important point to remember is to make the call! When honest sportsman and women report wrongdoing, we are helping ourselves and all hunters.

Poaching steals from all of us

It is my opinion that poachers of wildlife—whether it be stealing a deer or wild turkey, killing an extra goose or duck, or taking one fish or squirrel too many—hurt us in many ways. Poachers that are caught get fined heavily in an attempt to replace what they stole – but there are those that don’t get caught. So, we lose the game and they don’t get fined. Then, there is the animal that was taken and will never be replaced. Such as the case of the buck mentioned at the beginning of this story. He’s gone forever. It will take many years before this small town of Holland sees another buck of that caliber and he died because of a law-breaker.

I cannot help but think about some of the youth that hunt around here. What kind of example was set for them because everyone heard about this buck? Hunting is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. We need to be good stewards of all creatures. To ensure that future generations of hunters will be raised with high morals and ethics, along with wildlife to pursue. Thankfully, Gill was caught and will have to face charges for his wrongdoing.

Hunters desiring to secure our future by protecting what belongs to us have options. When you hear or know personally someone that has broken the law, you can call 1-800-TIP-IDNR (1-800-847-4367). The toll-free phone number provides 24/7 coverage for your convenience. Reports can also be made through the website: in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/2745.htm and click on the “File a Complaint Online” link to complete the process.

Want to do even more? Consider becoming an honorary member of TIP advisory board (tip.wildindiana.com). Annual or lifetime membership proceeds are given to IDNR Law Enforcement to aid in catching and prosecuting poachers. There are also several items for sale.