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MADISON – For people who prefer texting instead of calling, the Department of Natural Resources has made it easy to pass on valuable tips of suspected violations in the public’s effort to protect Wisconsin’s natural resources.
Text-a-tip was made possible this year thanks to a system upgrade to the DNR Violation Hotline that allows users to CALL or TEXT the toll free number — 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. Kevin Barman who coordinates the hotline says phone calls remain an effective way to reach the 24-7 hotline, but texting provides our customers the flexibility to relay information when a phone call is not possible. Texting also provides the opportunity to include a photo.
Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller says the Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers seriously consider every tip that comes from the citizens on the Hotline. “The protection of Wisconsin’s natural resources and ensuring people are safely enjoying the resources is the duty and the responsibility of all citizens,” Schaller says. “It takes a team effort between the citizens and the department. We can’t be everywhere, so we value the eyes and ears of citizens who care deeply about Wisconsin’s resources.”
“We have trained dispatchers who can take your information and pass it on to the conservation wardens,” Barman said. “Remember, anyone who calls the hotline and provides info can remain anonymous.”
There also is an online violation report, which also maintains anonymity, that can be found by searching the DNR website for keywords “report a violation.”
Barman says the hotline is part of Wisconsin’s membership in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which holds violators accountable for their actions and can result in privileges being withheld in all members states in some cases. Nearly all states are members.
The concept of the interstate violator compact was first created in the 1980s when law enforcement agencies were looking for a way to deal with individuals who violated wildlife and resource laws outside of their home state. Colorado and Nevada worked independently to draft the first compact documents. They merged the draft documents and in 1989 legislation was passed into law in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon to form the official Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.