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Vermont’s ‘Operation Game Thief’ Helps Catch Poachers

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont State Game Wardens are asking Vermonters with information about fish and wildlife crimes to submit them through the Operation Game Thief program. 

Operation Game Thief (OGT) is a joint nonprofit program sponsored by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and administered by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The program provides a way for people to help protect the state’s fish and wildlife by reporting law violators at 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378).   The toll-free hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to report violations.  Rewards are paid for information leading to arrests. 

 “Although Vermont is lucky enough to have more wardens patrolling our fields, forests and waterways than in many years, their numbers are still limited,” said Col. Jason Batchelder.  “Operation Game Thief is a great way for Vermonters to assist in reducing fish and wildlife violations by providing tips and information.  We’re asking people to call with details such as names and descriptions of perpetrators, and descriptions and plate numbers of vehicles whenever possible.” 

To help get the word out about OGT, Vermont State Game Wardens have built an Operation Game Thief display trailer.  The display trailer was sponsored in part by International Wildlife Crimestoppers and the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and serves as an opportunity for wardens to do further education and outreach about Operation Game Thief.  The trailer can be seen at larger conferences and events such as Dead Creek Wildlife Day and the Yankee Sportsmen’s Classic. 

“Poachers steal the opportunity for others to legally hunt and fish and may create an unfairly negative impression of hunting and fishing with the general public,” said Col. Batchelder. “They may also target threatened, endangered, or nongame species, such as a recent case in which a poacher shot a bald eagle. We appreciate this partnership with the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs to help us catch and prosecute poachers through Operation Game Thief.”

For Immediate Release:  October 25, 2018

Media Contact:  Col. Jason Batchelder 802-828-1529; Jeff Whipple 802-535-5220