What to Do if You Witness a Wildlife Code Violation: 7 Tips

YOU can help protect wildlife by reporting violations to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Wildlife Conservation Officers cannot be all places at all times. The Game Commission relies on people like you to be the extra eyes and ears in Penn’s woods.

What should you do if you witness a wildlife crime? Note as many details as possible.

  1. Remember the suspect’s physical description, so that you can inform an officer.
  2. Try to secure names and addresses of other witnesses and any information they may have about the violation or the suspect.
  3. Note any physical evidence such as animal parts, type of firearm, and cartridge cases.
  4. Write down the suspect’s vehicle information: license number, make, year, color and other relevant information.
  5. Determine the species and number of wildlife animals involved in the suspected violation.
  6. Take note of the location of the suspected violation
  7. Then call the appropriate Game Commission region office to share details of the suspected violation. The more information you can provide, the faster the incident can be investigated and the potential violator can be caught.

In a recent news release, you can read about how a Pennsylvania resident helped the Game Commission to catch an elk poacher.

Elk poaching case

Here are some example of game law violations and revocation periods:

  • Unlawful use of lights to take wildlife-Big game up to 5 years for first offense; other wildlife 3 years for first offense
  • Buying or selling wildlife or edible parts contrary to law- Threatened or endangered species-7 years first offense; big game-up to 5 years first offense; other wildlife- 3 years first offense
  • Take, injure, kill, possess or transport big game during closed season or beyond daily or season bag limits- up to 5 years first offense
  • Hunting of furtaking while on revocation-5 years
  • Killing or attempting to kill through the use of bait as an enticement- bear or elk- 3 years; all other game 2 years
  • Killing wounding or attempting to kill a deer with a firearm during the archery season- 2 years
  • Disturbing traps of another- 1 year
  • Trapping/furtaking during closed season- 1 year

If you see any of the above illegal activity or other game code violations, please notify a region Game Commission office. You may choose to remain anonymous.

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