You will never hear me advocate for someone to NOT call the poaching hotline as I consider it an important tool to protect our wildlife. And I also know I've told you this before, but that whole process is CRAP. The poaching hotline has so many problems I don't even know where to start. Oh wait, I know where to start......how's this: ANSWER THE PHONE.
In the past three years I bet its been about 50/50 on the times that my call even got answered. Then, the answering service operator asks you what deer hunting zone, or elk hunting area you are in. What happens if I haven't memorized each and every zone?? Its not like a carry it in the field with me. Especially since we are talking about water courses that normally are a diff zone on each side.
They won't take grid coordinates, or street intersections or zip codes. Nothing. Then, if you do get through to someone and they call you back, its often someone from across the state. Now, I understand that all EOs can't be everywhere. But its really ridiculous and I've called enough times and had bad experiences enough now that its a pattern, not a fluke.
Having said all that, I am totally stoked that I have seen a MUCH higher visibility of officers out and about this year actually checking people hunting ducks, geese and upland. And they even responded to a call to the poaching line so I know that they DO follow up when reasonably possible.
Perhaps the well earned reputation that Idaho DFG really only cares about big game and salmon finally got to someone and now there is some enforcement around Ducks and Geese. I certainly welcome it.
I have introduced myself to the officers in my area and that is the best way I can think of to really catch the heinous offenders. For which there are MANY.
So, for those of you out there like me who get pissed watching other idiots out there break our rules and waste game and endanger others, I would tell you to take a quick look in the book and make sure you know the IDFG Hunting Zone/Area of the areas you hunt in so that when you call the hotline you can tell them precisely where to look. I actually put it as notes in my phone and it helped.
ADDED NOTE: I do realize that the poaching hotline is not manned by IDFG personnel or probably not even people from this state. That is a service that is outsourced much like a Doctor's office or something like that. Which is fine. However, the process that the answering service follows is totally dictated by the DFG and I just think it deserves a review. I also know that these 24/7 answering services are not cheap and not picking up up the phone is unconscionable in my view and that should be put out to bid as well.
Internet Scouting Pro Staff