BY JAMES GERCHY, OUTDOORS WRITER | SPECIAL TO TOWNSQUARE MEDIA


 

If you missed the Turn In Poachers “Wall of Shame” at the Benton County Fair this past summer, you can see it at the St. Cloud Sportsmen’s Show this weekend at the River’s Edge Convention Center.

The “Wall” features game and fish that have been taken illegally in the State of Minnesota by poachers and confiscated by conservation officers and mounted by taxidermists. Each specimen has a story that provides the details of each violation. The wall is accompanied by volunteers to answer your questions.

The display features a 48” sturgeon mount that was taken out of season by a walleye angler and posted on Facebook. A tipster alerted the DNR through the TIP hotline and the offender was cited, convicted and fined $385 plus $500 for restitution for the value of the sturgeon to the citizens of Minnesota.

You can also see a former world-record 8-point buck that was shot illegally on Halloween Day in Goodhue County. A TIP led the local Conservation Officer to the game violator. The 185” Boone and Crockett score made it the largest 8-point whitetail ever taken at the time. The poacher lost his hunting privilege for 5 years, paid $2,158 in fines, and was sentenced to 245 days in jail.
Turn In Poachers is a 501c3 organization that was started by a group of Minnesota citizens seeking to assist the Department of Natural Resources conservation officers identify and enforce game and fish violations.
Since its inception in 1981, TIP is credited with assisting in over 10,000 game violation arrests and paying out over $380,000 in reward money with funds that have been privately raised by TIP statewide volunteers through memberships, donations, and specially commissioned wildlife prints. Some TIPsters refuse the reward noting that finding justice for game and fish violators is reward enough.

All calls to the TIPline are kept anonymous and rewards up to $1000 are paid out based on the severity of the violation.
“It is each sportsman’s responsibility to choose fair chase and harvesting animals within the limits set by the DNR,” said TIP Executive Director, Dennis Mackedanz. “We live in a state that provides ample resources and opportunities for all who wish to participate, but make no mistake, when someone poaches a deer, bear, or an over limit of fish, they are stealing from all of us,” he added.

The violation hotline is statewide toll-free: 1-800-652-9093 24 hours a day, 365 days a year or #TIP from your cell phone. Tips are received through a 24-hour phone line which is answered at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources–Enforcement Division Monday through Friday and the Minnesota State Patrol–Dispatchers, nights and weekends.

The St. Cloud area fundraiser banquet for Turn In Poachers, Inc. is Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Jack and Jim’s Event Center in Duelm. Tickets and more info at the TIP website.

If you would like to contribute merchandise or serve on a banquet committee or state board you are invited to call the TIP office phone number is 218-326-8477.

You can see the largest 8-point whitetail buck shot in the world at the time it was poached in 2009. (PHOTO: James Gerchy)