Wildlife conservation officers and law enforcement partners from other agencies found a lot of violations in a special operation last fall.
The largest annual coordinated law enforcement effort conducted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission resulted in a record number of arrests in 2015.
Each year, the commission carries out Operation Talon. It’s a statewide nighttime poaching detail. Officers run it out over two weeks, at times and locations suggested by a look back at past poaching trends.
Officers from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, State Police, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department and Conservation and Natural Resources are involved, too.
The commission makes no secret of the fact it does this – and has every year since 2011 – nor does it refrain from publishing result afterward, said Tom Grohol, director of the commission’s bureau of wildlife protection.
Criminals aren’t getting the word, though.
“The prosecutions and violations detected continue to escalate every year,” he said.
In 2011, conservation officers uncovered 305 violations. That went to 415 in 2012, 527 in 2013, 564 in 2014 and 1,060 last year.
Not all of those violations resulted in fines. Some got warnings, Grohol said.
But there’s no denying the need to continue the effort either, he noted.
“There’s certainly no shortage of poaching activities going on in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We continue to combat that every day.”