Sportfishing Conservancy Launches “Poachers Cant Hide” Program,
Distributing Laminated Wallet Cards to Anglers Across California
Free “PCH” Cards Help Sportsmen Report Poaching Activities, Increase Effectiveness of Existing CALTIP Program
Non-profit fishing & conservation organization The Sportfishing Conservancy has launched a new “Poachers Can’t Hide (PCH) program to give both California sportsmen and law enforcement another useful tool in the battle against poaching of fish and game across the state.
At the heart of this program is a laminated, wallet-sized PCH information card designed for sportsmen to keep on their person at all times. Developed by The Sportfishing Conservancy in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, PCH is designed to augment the existing CALTIP program by spurring reports and, most importantly, make better witnesses of those who do report suspected poaching activities. These cards are being handed out during meetings/presentations at various fishing clubs across the state. In addition, anglers can request cards through
the mail by visiting www.sportfishingconservancy.org, or by calling Outreach Coordinator Jenny Armstrong at 949.813.7831.
“The sportfishing community can often become divided over various issues, but as a whole, there are core values we generally agree on,” said Tom Raftican, President of The Sportfishing Conservancy. “One, we’re conservationists at heart who care about our state’s natural resources and wildlife. Two, we hate to see fish and game thieves get away with poaching — damaging our resources and hurting the reputation of legitimate sportsmen everywhere in the process. Our PCH effort and this simple wallet card is another tool we all can use to combat poaching activities — and it puts poachers on notice that we’re not going to look the other way.”
One important goal of the PCH card is to serve as a reminder for fishermen and outdoorsmen to be aware of what’s going on around them and to keep the 1-888-CALTIP hotline number right at their fingertips. The other is to provide a checklist that helps anglers provide the specific types of information that wardens need to follow-up effectively. This includes things like physical descriptions, vehicle and/or boat registration numbers, direction of travel, etc.
Both The Sportfishing Conservancy and DFW wardens recognize that it’s often not possible for law enforcement to respond immediately to CALTIP reports, due to the small number of agents and the vast areas they have to cover. However, if they have good information from reliable witnesses — the types of information highlighted on the PCH card — wardens can use this information to follow up, investigate and take action if warranted.
“We want fishermen to be good observers and be able to provide the types of information wardens need most to do their jobs. We also need to be very clear that we do not want any members of the public to confront suspected poachers,” said Raftican. “However, by remaining observant and reporting what we see, every one of us has the power to protect the resources we treasure and enhance the sporting lifestyle we all enjoy. Poachers steal from everyone, and it’s up to us to make sure they can’t hide among honest sportsmen,” concluded Raftican.
The Sportfishing Conservancy welcomes the opportunity to make presentations to fishing clubs on the CALTIP program and Poachers Can’t Hide, including providing cards to all members. They will also mail cards to any anglers who request them through the website by clicking here.