February 9, 2016
Cabela’s, the nationwide retailer of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, has stepped up to provide $50 gift cards the Game Commission will use as rewards for tip-driven convictions when the additional penalty is not assessed. Pennsylvania law gives judges with the authority to levy a $500 penalty if poaching cases originate from a tip. But when the penalty isn’t assessed, there’s been no mechanism for the agency to reward tipsters for reporting wildlife crimes – until now.
SUCCESSFUL PROMOTION: Cabela’s Hamburg store promotion and gift cards have generated record crime tip reports.
Ron Leh, retail marketing manager for Cabela’s Hamburg store, appeared last week at the Board of Game Commissioners quarterly meeting to present the first of 10 reward gift cards. And in appreciation, the Game Commission presented Leh with a placard recognizing the outfitter’s support for Operation Game Thief.
Operation Game Thief is the Game Commission’s program for reporting poaching of deer, bears, turkeys or elk, and endangered, threatened and protected species. Since the hotline’s launch, Cabela’s also has supported Operation Game Thief by hanging posters throughout the Hamburg store.
“The partnership we have formed benefits not only Cabela’s and the Game Commission, but more importantly, the wildlife of Pennsylvania,” Leh said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results the program is getting.”
The 24-hour Operation Game Thief hotline was launched in September. Tips have been coming in at record numbers since then.
The program has resulted in charges in poaching cases, including one in which several trophy-class bucks were taken unlawfully. It’s also led to the recovery of an unlawfully harvested bobcat and a black bear that was shot with a crossbow bolt and left for dead.
To make a report through Operation Game Thief, dial 1-888-PGC-8001, or go to the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us to fill out a reporting form online. Those providing information may remain anonymous.
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