Elk NetworkUtah Reports 2023 Poaching Numbers

General , Poaching | January 12, 2024

Below is a
news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. For 2024-2025, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching.

A total of 1,056 wild animals and fish were illegally harvested in Utah in 2023, a slight decrease from the number illegally killed in 2022.

The total combined value of the wildlife illegally killed last year was a little over $619,000. Some of the animals illegally killed included:

  • 133 deer, 23 of which were classified as “trophy” animals
  • 150 elk, 31 of which were classified as “trophy” animals
  • Four moose
  • 11 bison
  • Seven bears
  • 485 fish

The remaining illegally killed wildlife included small game animals, waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species.

Here’s a look at the number of animals illegally killed in Utah over the past few years:

  • 2022: 1,283 wild animals, valued at more than $609,000
  • 2021: 1,153 animals, valued at more than $610,000 (because several of the big game animals were classified as “trophy” animals)
  • 2020: 1,079 animals, valued over $387,000
  • 2019: 1,065 animals, valued over $384,000

A total of 4,567 violations were issued in 2023, compared to 4,074 citations in 2022. Last year, individuals were most often cited for fishing or hunting without a valid license.

In 2023, 46 people had their hunting or fishing privileges suspended in Utah, compared to:

  • 66 suspensions in 2022
  • 54 suspensions in 2021
  • 35 suspensions in 2020
  • 84 suspensions in 2019

Utah is a member state of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. License suspensions in Utah are recognized in all the other states in the U.S., except Hawaii.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal for legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and everyday residents to enjoy,” DWR Capt. Chad Bettridge said. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.”

There are currently five K-9 officers in the DWR that help investigate a variety of wildlife cases. They locate wildlife that were illegally killed, find discarded or hidden evidence and assist with many other tasks. In 2023, DWR’s K-9 officers helped investigate 114 cases throughout the state.

Here are the various ways you can report illegal or suspicious wildlife activities:

  • Call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline at 1-800-662-3337. (The UTiP hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is the quickest way to report a wildlife violation.)
  • Use the UTDWR Law Enforcement app.
  • Text officers at
  • Report online through the DWR website.

The text option was implemented in 2021, and 670 tips were submitted through it last year, many of which resulted in successful investigations and prosecutions of wildlife-related crimes. The hotline number received approximately 1,000 tips in 2023.

“Our officers can’t be everywhere at once, so we need your help,” Bettridge said. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report any suspicious wildlife-related activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws to maintain healthy populations, and to also keep those recreating outdoors safe.”

(Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)