A mobile fixture at South Dakota outdoor events, sports shows and festivals has received a facelift.

The educational trailer used for the Turn In Poachers (TIPS) program has several new photo “skins” on its exterior, making the traveling trailer more visible and inviting.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard will unveil the updated trailer on the grounds of the state Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 9:45 a.m. CST.

“The outdoor scenes depicted on the sides of the trailer, along with TIPS educational displays, serve as important tools that will draw attention to the problem of poaching in South Dakota,” the Governor said.

“It’s important for citizens to be aware that wildlife belong to all of us,” Gov. Daugaard said.

TIPs information is used at educational and outdoor festivals; in Step Outside programs of the state Game, Fish and Parks Department; in hunter and angler education programs; and at many outdoor venues.

The TIPS program was started in South Dakota in 1984 in response to the illegal killing of two elk in the Black Hills.  Within a year, the program was so successful that it was implemented statewide.

Since the program began, there have been more than 10,000 investigations, resulting in about 3,400 arrests.  Poachers have paid more than $658,000 in fines, and an additional $509,000 in liquidated civil damages has been assessed.

TIPS has paid out more than $135,000 in cash rewards since 1984 to people who have supplied information leading to arrests in South Dakota.

The main goals of the TIPs program are to:

  • Increase awareness of poaching problems
  • Actively investigate all poaching violations
  • Protect the state’s wildlife for future generations
  • Serve as a deterrent to poaching

TIPS is a private, non-profit organization run by Wildlife Protection Incorporated.  It is funded through donations from the big-game license application checkoff, private donations and court-ordered restitution.  The TIPs program uses those for rewards, to erect highway signs, disseminate literature, and create TV and radio announcements and other items that promote the program.

Rewards are paid in cash after arrests have been made, and TIPS informants can remain anonymous.

“The citizens of South Dakota play a big part in making sure the state’s wildlife is protected,” said GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk.  “This educational trailer is a great tool to educate people about the program.  The goal is awareness.  If people witness wildlife violations, we want their first thought to be, ‘I need to dial 1-888-OVERBAG (683-7224).’”

People can also contact their local conservation officer or violations can be reported on the GFP website at:  http://gfp.sd.gov/agency/law-enforcement/turn-in-poachers.aspx

Logo courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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