Turn tips into cash by calling Operation Game Thief

Operation Game Thief (OGT), a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish program, offers rewards to citizens who turn in poachers. The OGT program is a Crime Stoppers program for wildlife that began here in New Mexico in 1977. In fact, the program was modeled after the first Crime Stoppers program, which was originally created by the Albuquerque Police Department. Today, Operation Game Thief, or a similar program, has now been adopted by nearly every state in the U.S.

The OGT hotline is set-up to receive information 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that we capture any details someone may have about a wildlife crime or violation. All calls to OGT are confidential and the reporting individual has the option to remain anonymous. If you are unsure you witnessed an actual violation, the best thing to do is report it and let a conservation officer make a determination.

Above: In 2017, officers confiscated more than a dozen elk and deer skulls from a poacher in Bloomfield, N.M.Department photo.

If a poacher is arrested or issued a citation based on the information provided by the caller, a reward is authorized. The payment is arranged to protect the anonymity of the caller. Rewards can be paid in cash, check or money order. We have found in many cases wildlife enthusiasts do not expect the reward; they just want the criminals stopped.

The key to successfully catching poachers is to report the information quickly and give as much detailed information as possible. However, you should never put yourself in danger trying to report a violation and you should never, under any circumstance, confront a poacher.

For more information on how you can support OGT or if you suspect a wildlife crime has occurred,
please call Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-GAME (4263), or visit https://onlinesales.wildlife.state.nm.us/public/ogt.

Remember, poachers steal your wildlife.

About Ross Morgan

Ross Morgan is the Public Information Officer in the Northwest Area for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.