Turn In a Poacher or Polluter


Let me begin by explaining just what TIP (Turn in a Poacher/Polluter) is and does. This non-profit conservation organization works alongside Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to protect fish and wildlife by bringing perpetrators to court and justice. The more “bad people” that get caught and prosecuted and made known to the public, the less likely they are to feel comfortable stealing our game, fish and ruining the landscape with pollution. I, for one, hate to head to the woods or lake and see the countryside riddled with trash. It also raises my blood pressure to hear about someone driving along and shooting game simply for their own profit and greed.


I doubt I will ever forget the time my late husband John Trout, Jr. set up a meeting with a well-known poacher in southern Indiana. I don’t even know if the man is still alive, but he and his family made quite the income (unreported of course) via poaching. Naturally, I was nervous the entire time John was gone because this was prior to cellphone days. The poacher boasted of how much money they (he, his wife, and children) made, and the prices people were willing to pay for venison meat, turkey and deer antlers in velvet.



I must confess, his kids were frequently in trouble with the law, and one must believe their upbringing negatively impacted their lives. Since they were juveniles, punishment for poaching was a “slap on the wrist,” so mom and dad would place the children in the hot seat. And they went along with it because they felt it was cool to watch an animal die.

There are many hunting families, and our heritage is passed down through the ages. Seldom do you hear of a child from a home that supports and imposes good hunting ethics getting in trouble with the law. These kids are in the woods enjoying God’s creation, rather than on the streets with drug peddlers, sex traffickers and peers that just want to steal. Ethical children often do much better in school than kids that come from dysfunctional homes.

Poachers have one goal in mind: to make as much money as possible. They don’t care about the effects they have on wildlife or future poachers.

Now that we know how bad things used to be, here is the great news!

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I had the pleasure of speaking to Lt. Bohbrink about the TIP program. He advised me that there were 669 cases reported to TIP in 2022. Some 481 of those cases were phone-ins, while the remaining 188 were reported via email. This year (2023) thus far, there have been 350 reports; however, deer season has barely begun, and that is when many reports are made. So, it appears that we could see more reports this year compared to last year.

Of course, if a report is made and that report leads to a conviction, there is reward money available. A total of $4,000 was awarded last year. Many of the convictions were done anonymously, and some folks that reported did not want the reward money. I know that for me, it is rewarding enough to know that the conviction could stop a poacher or polluter, or at least cause them to think twice about their criminal activity next time. But the TIP program has funds for rewarding you, and they truly want to reward you!

So, do you think your report doesn’t help? Think again! We only have 200 conservation officers/office staff for all 92 counties of the state of Indiana. Of those 200, some never leave their desk in Indianapolis or other parts of our state. So, you do matter. The state is relying heavily on reports made by the public. And, as I mentioned, you can remain anonymous.

Reporting is easy. Call 1-800-847-4367 to make the report or go to any computer that has internet access and type www.in.gov/dnr/fish-and-wildlife. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Under the “I want to” column, click “Report a Poacher.” Follow the easy steps for reporting poaching or polluting activities. You may also donate to the TIP fund simply by sending your donation to Turn in a Poacher, Inc., 402 W. Washington St., Room W255D, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

There will always be those that support poachers because they are too lazy to hunt, and those that enjoy poaching if it is profitable. But, with great programs like TIP, we can have a positive impact, slowing down poaching and polluting.