It happens every fall -- and at other times of the year, also. Someone sees a blatant violation of game laws and wonders where the wildlife officers are.
Or the observer may phone the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and say, "I saw a couple of guys night hunting last week. No, I didn't get a license number. Your game wardens need to stop this kind of stuff."
Yes, the AGFC wildlife officers need to stop night hunting, out-of-season poaching and other violations, but they need help in doing it. Quick, accurate information is the biggest boost the average citizen can give them.
Here are some pointers for helping apprehend wildlife violators:
* Time is of the essence. The quicker a violation is reported to AGFC, the more likely the outlaw is likely to be caught. Cell phones can be extremely useful, although they don't function in some isolated areas. Callers should make a note of the exact time they saw the violation.
* Take a pen and paper. Just a single sheet of folded paper will be plenty for recorded information on a violation.
* Get a vehicle license number. This is the quickest means for an officer to trace a suspect. Binoculars in the woods are handy for checking game, and they are extremely helpful for reading a license plate.
* Notice and jot down details of the vehicle -- make, color, type (two doors, four doors), anything unusual about it.
* Provide an accurate location. "About a half mile off that gravel road east of town" doesn't do it. A GPS (global positioning system) unit can be useful for an exact location reading. All AGFC wildlife officers are equipped with these and are trained to use them.
* Describe the person or persons. Their physical description is more vital than what clothing they are wearing. The type of clothing and headwear being worn can help with the description. Names are very good, if the person or persons' name is known.
* Do not confront or try to apprehend a violator and hold him or her for an officer to arrive. That's not a citizen's duty, and it can be extremely dangerous. These bad actors are almost always carrying weapons.
* Gather information from a hidden position or from a distance. No wildlife violation, no matter how serious, is worth getting hurt or killed for.
Write down the AGFC toll-free hotline number and keep it, or memorize it -- 800-482-9262. Cingular cell phone users can just dial #847. Alltel cell phone users can dial *847. Calls to these numbers are preferable than a call to a local wildlife officer's home or office.
Names of informants are kept confidential by the AGFC.