New app meant to help crack down on poaching gains traction
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As the hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans get ready for this year’s deer hunting season, wildlife officials are asking they add an extra step in their preparations.
New for this fall, a phone app allows people to submit reports about someone who may be poaching. Those behind the app in nonprofit Turn in Poachers (TIP) say the poaching problem in the state “huge.”
“Poaching isn’t going to be better tomorrow because of the app,” Kris Lambke, president of TIP, said, adding: “The app is just another tool to help get more officers involved in curbing the illegal activity.”
The officers Lambke referred to are conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural resources (DNR) — he said the partnership with the DNR goes “hand in hand” with their work.
You can find the app in your app store under “MN TIP” — people only need to answer a few questions and upload a picture or video if they have one, and within seconds the report is sent to officials.
It launched in April, and according to data from the DNR, about a quarter of the more than 1,800 poaching tips reported since then came through the app.
“We’re very appreciative of TIP, and they have helped us immensely over the years make a lot of important cases,” Lieutenant Tyler Quandt, who is a conservation officer with the DNR, said.
Lt. Quandt said he has confidence in the new reporting tool and said the more people out there helping, the better they can do their job of protecting the state’s natural resources.
“Without those eyes and ears out there, [and] people caring enough to get involved, a lot of these violations would go undetected,” Lt. Quandt said.
If any conservation officer understands the importance of poaching tips from the public, it’s Lt. Quandt — in 2009, he busted a southeast Minnesota man who illegally shot the largest eight-point buck in the world. It’s a record Lt. Quandt says still stands today.
Several replicas have been made, including one on display at the DNR’s headquarters in St. Paul, to help educate about the negative impacts of poaching and the importance of reporting.
“I think it’s been very beneficial to [TIP] and all conservation officers, not just in Minnesota, but in many states and maybe some cases nationwide because the case has drawn nationwide attention,” Lt. Quandt said.
Calls can also be made, and an online form can be filled out to report a poaching tip here.