This season, anglers, hunters, boaters, hikers, and all outdoors enthusiasts are being asked to keep an eye out for poachers, and not to turn a blind eye towards those whose reckless actions threaten Manitoba’s fish and wildlife populations. A new campaign to promote the Turn In Poachers hotline launched Thursday, May 8, just in time for fishing season.
Several members of Manitoba’s fishing and hunting community have partnered together to produce nearly 100 new signs encouraging people to Turn In Poachers, and the signs have now begun to spring up across the province. The signs, which advertise Manitoba’s Turn In Poachers hotline (1-800-782-0076), are being placed at locations like boat launches, trail heads, and public docks.
The project is led by the Manitoba Natural Resource Officers Association, the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association, and the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. It has also been supported by the Manitoba Big Game Trophy Association, the Seven Oaks Game and Fish Association, and Airmaster Signs.
“Our officers are out there every day watching out for violations like keeping too many fish, ignoring size limits or hunting out of season,” said Dan McMahon, president of the MNROA. “But we can’t be everywhere, so we also need the public’s help to call in tips whenever they witness violations like these or hear about incidents that warrant investigation.”
“We felt that producing these new signs would be a great way to encourage anglers, hunters, hikers, boaters, and anyone else out enjoying the outdoors to keep an eye out for poaching,” said Paul Turenne, executive director of the MLOA, noting the organization’s Hunter and Angler Preservation Fund helped fund the sign production. “Poaching is unethical and illegal and we don’t want to see anybody getting away with it.”
“The vast majority of hunters and anglers are law-abiding, but it’s those that aren’t who give us all a bad name,” said Brian Strauman, president of MWF. “We want to show poachers that we won’t stand for their actions.”
A new “poacher restitution” bill was recently introduced in the Manitoba Legislature that would force those convicted of fish and wildlife violations to pay additional fines that would be directed back into fish and wildlife management efforts, habitat improvement and other projects that protect these important natural resources. The MNROA, MLOA and MWF support this bill.