How To Report Crimes Against Wild Birds
TL;DR Report a Wildlife or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity
Dial 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP or *677 from a mobile phone during hours of
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday or email: TIP@osp.oregon.gov any time.
The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife (OSPFW) Division Turn-in-Poachers (TIP) reward policy pays up to $1000 or 5-points for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the illegal killing or taking of wildlife or illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling licenses or tags.
TIP rewards can also be given for the illegal taking, netting, snagging, and/or dynamiting of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and/or large numbers of any fish listed in Oregon law as a game fish.
Here is the link to the OSPFW online form or a PDF copy
When composing provide as complete of a report as possible include:
- Activity observed or advised about
- Location of activity (Road number, Milepost, GPS, Range, etc.)
- Date and time of violation/activity
- Description of any vehicle involved
- Name and/or description of violator
Why to Report Wildlife Or Habitat Suspicious Activity or Crimes.
You play an influential role in the struggle against wildlife crime essentially being the eyes, ears, and ethics of OSPFW. Poaching (illegal take of game or fish), trespassing, littering, theft, destroying of property and road closure violations affect all Oregonians. Poaching wildlife and damaging habitats affecting the present and future generations of wildlife. It impacts communities and the economy. It is also an enforcement challenge. People who fraud the system by falsely applying for resident license or tags are not legally hunting or angling. They are considered poachers. There is a reward system to move you to assist in reporting wildlife and habitat suspicious activity or crimes. The rewards can be substantial, up to $1000.
Recently 13 waterfowl were left to waste in three garbage bags. That is potential $1300 depending on the case. Also recently two elk were found poached and wasted, Again, depending on the case, that could be $1000 in reward or more eight preference points awards and that is a lot of points, which goes a long ways toward some of Oregon’s most coveted game tags
Recognise, Record, Report.
How to Detail Wildlife Or Habitat Suspicious Activity or Crimes.
If a crime:
- Is ongoing/urgent consider calling 911 if you need immediate police response.
- Otherwise, call the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP or *677 from a mobile phone during hours of 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday or email: TIP@osp.oregon.gov any time.
- To participate in TIP be sure and fill out the required paperwork. Turn in Poachers (TIP) is a reward-based program to assist in wildlife and habitat enforcement.
Documenting a Wildlife Crime to Win the Award
Take the maximum responsibility and do not put yourself or others at risk.
If possible and safe:
- Take caution if events involve several suspects with/or the use of firearms.
- If safe to do so, watch and note what is happening – try to make a written note of anything you see and keep this in a safe place.
- Take photos and/or videos
- Note the date, time and weather conditions.
- Note the location accurately – ideally a GPS reading, of both the scene and where you witnessed the incident.
- Note a description of person/s involved including gender, age, height, clothing, behavior, anything carried, etc.
- Note any vehicle registration numbers, make, model and color or distinctive features.
- Consider humanely killing the wildlife which is seriously injured and beyond recovery and no help is available.
- Identify other witnesses and obtain their name and contact details.
- Disturb evidence by moving items or walking around the scene unnecessarily.
- Touch or move dead animals or birds, unless otherwise instructed.
- Destroy or interfere with legal rural practices such as correctly set traps and snares. If you are uncertain about what to do, take a photo and contact the police
- Do not publish details of suspected crimes on social media as this may hinder an effective investigation.
Your first step is to download (screenshots are weak evidence, so only use them as a backup) the images at issue and collect all of the account details that you can—like the poster’s account name and other identifiers, the full text of account owner’s posting(s), any comments posted with the images, etc.
While most social media sites scrub (or remove) metadata from uploaded images, downloading the image makes it easier to diagnose whether a still image is authentic or has been Photoshopped in some form. (Yes, there are people out there who doctor photos and post them just to see the outraged reactions they will get).
The next step—report what you have found to the local law enforcement agency where the poster’s account originates (or to your local law enforcement agency if the account does not disclose a location) along with copies of the images and account information you have collected. In that report, be sure to include an express request that:
An officer file a formal preservation request pursuant to 18 USC § 2703(f) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act with the host site;
The agency fully investigate the crimes depicted in the images you have discovered; and
You understand that you may be called as a fact witness as needed as the case progresses (your willingness to cooperate with the entire case is key to getting the ball rolling).
Armed with the information you’ve collected, law enforcement can get to work sending the legal process required (e.g., grand jury subpoena or search warrant). In lay terms: (1) law enforcement will first contact the host site to get the original content that was uploaded, the date and time it was uploaded, any data regarding the location the file was posted from if they maintain that data, the IP address, and any interaction other individuals had with the post; and (2) once the officer has these details, law enforcement is able to send legal process to the poster’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the subscriber information associated with the IP address used to complete the upload.
Once this information is received, which can take some time, officers will most likely have sufficient probable cause to apply for a search warrant to have a look at the poster’s devices. Once law enforcement has access to the devices, the officer can search for the original images that were the subject of the offending post and all of the metadata that comes with digital images.
A word about metadata associated with digital images: unless special care is taken, those who shoot videos or take photographs create more than just the images at issue—they also capture the metadata for those images. Image metadata (commonly known as “EXIF” data) contains some key information like the GPS coordinates of the location of the image, the date and time the image was taken, the manufacturer and model number of the camera—things like that.
Thus, EXIF data is highly relevant to prosecutors who will later have to prove the identity of the offender, the jurisdiction and venue of the offense, and that the acts depicted in the images occurred before the expiration of the relevant statute of limitations. Stated another way: EXIF data helps prosecutors prove the “when” and “where” in the world of “who, what, when, where, and how.”
But here is the rub: as a general rule, the only way to get EXIF data is from the file itself and that generally means retrieving it from the original recording device. As noted above, gaining access to those devices is, at least, a two-step process that only works if the host site still has the original posting at the time law enforcement gets to work on the case. So, please DO NOT demand that the site pull the images—there is a lot of work to be done first.
Additionally, DO NOT comment on the image or the poster’s account or share the posting. This could tip them off that law enforcement is on the case, leading them to remove the image or video before police can preserve essential evidence.
This protocol will work most of the time, but as is true in life, not in every case. However, making a good-faith effort to ID these people is the best we can do. It is an ugly world out there, but with your help, we can visit some real accountability on those who use the Internet as a vehicle to stroke their egos when preying upon the voiceless and vulnerable.
Reprinted with permission from The Animal Legal Defense Fund
Setting Traps For Documentation
There are many options to set traps for observation of remote areas using modern technology. You could add this to your mushroom hunting or other gathering means. There are a few things to note. You cannot record on a property that is not yours or is not public. You cannot publish media of other people without their consent
Trail cams are a great way to document remote locations. If a location has had numerous kills with no leads consider setting a trail cam they are affordable. And when strategically set effective.
Perimeter cams work to identify trespassers on to your land. Your game is valuable, protect your assets. Identify locations of crossing and use an invisible border to trigger the cam. It may take time to get a good photograph. Remember to keep good logs of your efforts and keep them in a safe location.
Drones are a new option. Drones work very well but can be heard and seen. They work best in conjunction with observations over time and perimeter alerts. Even if no data recovery occurred, the suspects do not know if the data was sent to the operator.
If you would like consulting, assistance, or facilitating in securing documentation of your properties, please reach out to Julia or The Julia Clark Organization. We are here to help. Your ability to pay does not matter. Though please consider donating, if you have means to support our work.