Operation Game Thief

Report Poachers and Arsonists

If you witness or suspect a wildlife violation, report it to your local conservation agent or call the toll-free number —1-800-392-1111— which is manned 24 hours a day. You may remain anonymous, and you may ask to be considered for a reward if you wish.

If you provide information that results in an arrest and you’ve asked to be considered for a reward, your agent will refer this request to a citizen board of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. That board assigns a reward based on the severity of the violation involved. Rewards range from $50 to $1,000.

See how OGT works to stop wildlife poaching:


Program 1-800-392-1111 into your cell phone—so you can act fast!

Your cell phone programmed with the toll-free number will help you take immediate action when you see violations in the field. Do not attempt to intervene yourself.

When you call, you will be asked simple questions, the answers to which will be vital to the investigation. Here are a few things to remember when you witness a suspected violation.

  • Nature of suspected illegal activity
  • Date and time of violation
  • The suspect’s identity, if possible
  • Description of the suspects and vehicles

Poaching hurts all Missourians

You may not “feel the pain” of poaching personally, but this crime can affect you in specific ways.

  • Poachers steal your opportunity to hunt, fish or collect legally.
  • Those who cheat the permit system cheat every Missouri taxpayer. The Conservation Department depends on revenue from hunting and fishing permits to manage wildlife populations and habitat.

How can you tell if someone is poaching?

Each year, conservation agents spend time tracking down poachers who disregard regulations protecting wildlife. Here are some of the illegal activities that agents dealt with last year:

  • Hunting from the road
  • Disposing of carcasses and other body parts in streams, rivers, ponds and lakes
  • Harvesting a deer or turkey and putting someone else’s permit on it
  • Using a spotlight to harvest deer or turkeys

A person is poaching if he or she…

  • Sells venison, deer sausage, fish or small game to acquaintances or at work.
  • Collects live animals for sale.
    • Many native species of reptiles and amphibians (turtles, lizards, snakes and frogs) are illegally taken for worldwide pet trade.
  • Hunts without a permit or with an inappropriate permit.
    • Some non-residents will try to buy lower-cost resident permits, even though they are not qualified to do so.
  • Collects native seeds, plants or roots on Conservation Department lands.

Help build our reward fund

Reward money for both Operation Game Thief and Operation Forest Arson comes from a fund administered by a nine-member board. Tax-deductible donations to that fund can be sent to the Conservation Federation of Missouri at this address:

Operation Game Thief/ Forest Arson Reward Fund
C/O Conservation Federation of Missouri
728 West Main St.
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

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Check the Code

This is NOT a legal document. Regulations are subject to revision during the current year.
Refer to the Wildlife Code.