(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

CASPER, Wyo. — 1,050 animals were illegally killed in Utah in 2019.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources say that is a slight increase over 2018.

“The total combined value of the wildlife that was illegally killed was over $386,000,” the division says. “While more individual animals were illegally killed in 2019, the total monetary value was lower than in 2018, due to the monetary values assigned to different species in state law.”

“As an example, a trophy fish is valued at $25, while a trophy elk is valued at $8,000. The average value of an illegally killed animal in 2019 was $369, while in 2018, it was $586. In 2018, 927 animals were illegally killed in Utah.”

526 citations were issued for “unlawful take and wanton destruction,” in 2019, down from 611 in 2018.

“The overall number of violations detected by DWR conservation officers last year was 3,525 violations, compared to 3,963 in 2018,” the release adds.

One reason for this drop may be that some officer districts were vacant in 2019, the division says.

“Each animal that is illegally killed in our state is one less animal that legal hunters, wildlife enthusiasts or everyday citizens have the opportunity to enjoy,” DWR Sgt. Chad Bettridge said. “Poachers steal our ability to enjoy Utah’s wildlife.”

People are encouraged to report suspicious activity.

“You can call the UTiP hotline — 1-800-662-DEER (3337) — which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the release says. “If you witness a possible violation, and you can’t remember the hotline number, do a quick internet search on your phone or look at your hunting or fishing license — the number is printed on it.”

“We need your help,” Bettridge said. “Please keep your eyes and ears open and report suspicious activity to us. Working together, we can enforce wildlife laws and keep our recreating public safe.”