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Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Brother's Keeper

When Cain killed Abel he had the audacity to ask God if he was his brother’s keeper. Many hunters have probably done the same thing over the years, turning a blind eye when one of their brothers or hunting buddies have committed a hunting violation. The state of Washington has decided that they needed to up the ante and encourage people to be their brother’s keeper.

If you turn in a poacher in Washington state you could earn as many as 10 bonus points depending on the severity of the incident. You read that right. That would literally put you 10 years ahead of the people you were sharing a point pool with. Depending on the circumstances and the hunt that you were applying for it could put you in or above the max point pool.

My guess is that this program has been fairly effective because 90 people have received bonus points. I don’t know that family and friends have started to turn each other in for a fact but I would have to believe that an incentive like this would certainly make it tougher to turn a blind eye when a violation happens in hunting camp.

Washington has done a very good thing here. People with integrity have always been a boon to wardens, who are stretched thin as it is. Hopefully this program encourages more people to follow the law knowing that the reward is much higher for those who turn in poachers.

Can you imagine what a program like this would do in a state like Colorado or Arizona where one point can mean the difference between a tag or no tag at all? Multiple points as a reward could send someone who reports an incident above the max point pool and guarantee a tag. Applicants who are multiple points behind could suddenly find themselves at the front of the line for say, a tag for mule deer on the Arizona Strip. How would you feel about about moving to the front of the line and cutting years off your wait?

What say you? Would you be in favor of a system like this in your own state?


About Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

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Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

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  1. Good deal. Not that we should get a “bonus” for doing the right thing anyway. But unless hunters start policing themselves, things will get worse (access, etc.). This past fall, personally observed numerous violations of pickups driving off road on forest lands where there were no roads, side by side off road vehicles using ATV trails, etc. Now that I’m home, wish I would have written down some license numbers.

  2. I think this is the best incentive for hunters. We should all report poaching cases in any event. To me, the points would be better than cash. The satisfaction of taking a poacher off the mountain or out of the field, is a great reward in itself. I wish Utah would follow this example.

    • Why do you wish Utah would give bonus points? In Utah if you turn in a poacher that is convicted you get a tag for that species last I knew..

  3. This system isn’t new and has been around for quite awhile now in WA state.

  4. I like it just the fact that people are aware are that other people are motivated to turn them in. Maybe some people will stop due to risk. Poaching is a huge problem in WA and Oregon I wish Oregon would do this.

  5. A friend in WA cashed in on a huge buck this year afforded to him by the 10-points he received in this program. Truly a worthy incentive.

  6. Great Idea!

  7. I’m going to submit a desenting vote. While the intent of the program is noble I certainly don’t agree with the reward of additional points being granted. I just don’t believe it is fair to those who have diligently purchased and accumulated points over time to have someone jump ahead of them for “turning someone in.” Helping in the apprehension of a game violator is the right thing to do, however this reward program causes a hardship to those individuals that are building points in the hopes of drawing those special, many are once in a lifetime, licenses. We all entered the “bonus points” game under the same rules and we need to keep the playing field level. Who hasn’t been in a line for a restaurant or some special event and witnessed someone “getting cuts” ahead of you? Ticks you off doesn’t it. If there needs to be a rewards system for doing something right, please stay away from the “points” program and figure out something else.

    • I believe that it’s a great deal. There isn’t that many people who get the 10. It has to be a big game (elk,deer,bear) I’ve been drawn for bull elk a number of times when my buddies have never, even know they have 17 to 18 points. It’s the luck of the draw. And yes I’ve had people cut in front of me. I know what you mean but this work great for this state (WA) and the wardens.

    • So would it be ok if someone poached the bull/buck/sheep you waited years to draw? This reward system would dramatically reduce those types of situations. This won’t just stop the poacher that might have cut in front of you, but might allow there to be 10,20,30+++ more trophy animals to pursue when you do finally draw. Sort of two sided argument or glass 1/2 full 1/2 empty thing, but still what’s right/legal remains the same. If it takes an incentive for people/hunters to do the “right” thing then so be it. Never, ever thought of this idea, the moment I read it – made clear sense and then reading the previous response I just wanted to throw my $.02 in. Everyone has a right to their opinion, I respect yours, but there a lot of others that don’t hold the same ideals as you – I’m not talking about you, but the poachers. It’s the same logic as carrying a gun – it is supposed to be for deterrence. This is the first forum question I’ve ever replied to in my 60+ yrs, so guess it just hit a cord with me. Hope this all works out for the best – but then we will have to rely on our elected officials to get it right!

  8. Im from Washington state, and have known a fellow who has earned 10 points multiple times.the problem lies within the Indians around here, they kill just to kill for horns or the backstraps and leave the rest.Christmas weekend I was out and about in the woods and caught some Indians killing animals in there wintering range, these animals have no where to go, there’s 3ft of snow in the lowlands.needless to say I called the state patrol to inform them what was going on and the dispatcher told me she would have a game warden call me back ASAP.I’m still waiting for the call this was almost 7 days ago. The real problem here in Washington state is natives, and a lack of caring from out game department in the last 5 years I have seen our deer heard dwindle down to nothing,and now the elk is on a downward decline as well.The YAKIMA natives have completely destroyed their reservation and now are hunting in the elk feeding stations and deer wintering grounds.This has got to stop!!(the gentleman that I know who has earned multiple points from poachers that he turned in WERE NATIVES THAT WERE NOT FROM WASHINGTON STATE or part of the Yakima tribe.This has got to stop or this will be the demise of our wildlife in Washington state.

    • Every hunter and angler in Washington knows this and it’s frustrating. Good on you for speaking up Tyler. Winter ground for fricken sake. If they need 8 elk a year to eat (they dont) have a cutoff date. Sure you didn’t have restrictions in 1850 neither did anyone else. Times change. Why do those changes only affect non-native?

  9. I am all in favor of turning in violations as a duty and have done so over the years. I should be a crime to jumpmten years ahead of me in the draw. Just give them an extra tag, but leave my fees and points alone. This is the worst tag creep I have ever seen.

  10. I call this the communist plan. Spying on your brother and informing the government. I dont like poaching either but, this is definitely not the way to cure it. The end does not justify the means. In my opinion, the points systems suck. If your not in at the beginning, or if your fat daddy isn’t buying your spoiled little butt points years before you can hunt, guess what? You don’t hardly stand a chance of getting drawn! Besides, does the government really care about our wildlife? Are not they the ones who turned Canadian wolves on our unprotected deer and elk herds? And in thier winter grounds to boot! 24-7-365, four legged poachers are out there thrashing our natural resourses. Do our Federal and State fish and gamers really give a care? I would highly suspect wolves are going to do far more damage to your WA game populations than a few lousey natives:-) Do like Idaho do. No points, everybody equal. It worked for me. I harvested my first once in a life time animal at age 16. I took my last of four once in a life time animals at age 56. Isn’t that how it is supposed to be?

  11. What a terrible idea. Let encourage everyone to spy and tattle on our brother hunters for some gain. I’m truly ashamed to be a Washington hunter today.

  12. I live in Washington and must be one of those 90. It makes me take closer looks at what people are doing in the woods. I caught a guy shooting a doe in February. I believe this is a great incentive for the people as well as animals. I would recommend all states to look into a system like this..

  13. Chris Martinez

    What an outstanding idea. This also works as a disincentive for those committing the crime. People you thought you could trust to keep their mouths shut might turn you in with this kind of incentive.

  14. Sounds like a lot of people think policing our hunting activities is being a snitch. So be it. There may be a camera anywhere now. I have personally witnessed violations of every kind. Hunters say, “Where have all the big game animals gone?” The same hunters who shoot there friends deer, year after year. They shoot over lights. They shoot over bait. They poach when it is convenient. They take 1000 yd shots, with a rifle that groups 30 inches at that range, and never ever practice long range shooting. Personally, I am sick at heart. I hunt alone now. I am over 60. I killed a respectable muley this year. Shot the deer in afternoon, and got back to my vehicle well past midnight, after boning and backpacking. Many think the rules only apply to others. I know a hunter who has benefitted from turning in a poacher, and then has violated the rules and hunting ethics himself. You cannot legislate morality or know what is in the hearts of men. The answer is inside each of us, to carry on and protect our hunting privileges. How do you act when no one is looking. I hope all the violators keep looking over there shoulder. They deserve no ones respect or acquiescence.

  15. More states should join in and have programs like this.

  16. There is no max points pool guaranteed tag in Washington. The more points you have just means you get more numbers in the hat. I know hunters that have drawn quality tags with just four points while some hunters cant draw with twenty points. Washington needs to look around at other states to see how its done the right way.

  17. I live in Washington State and have been a resident for 23 years. I don’t care for this system at all and think it robs the average hunter of his chance for a quality hunt. How would you like to put in for a quality elk tag for decades only to have someone turn in a poacher and bump you out of a chance for your tag? Also not everyone that turns in a poacher is a stellar individual either. I know of at least one instance where a pretty questionable individual went driving around and saw something and reported it and got a quality elk tag out of the deal. I wouldn’t be so resentful but I live here and know what it is like to keep getting the dirty end of the stick in the drawing process every year.

  18. Well having been a life long resident of Wa I will tell you that getting 10 points to hunt in Wa isn’t worth didly squat!! Washingtons dept of fish and game is so money hungry that don’t care about the wildlife one bit. The hunting stinks even if you did draw a permit with the 10 extra points. Not that you should turn in a violator but this is just an excuse for the WDFW toremain under manned and continue as is.

  19. yea and look how well it has helped the game quality or population

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