ASHLAND, Ky. (WOWK) – Many people have heard of Crime Stoppers and Neighborhood Watch groups, and now the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department wants to extend those practices to the great outdoors in time for hunting season.
For Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, one of the busiest times of the year is Modern Gun Season, which goes from November 9 to November 24. More than 300,000 hunters take part in it every year, and unfortunately, not all of the hunters obey the rules.
“Modern gun season is when we get most of the complaints and illegal activity,” said Tim Brett, a conservation officer for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife
He also said most of the complaints they get are trespassing onto private property and illegal roadside hunting, and to address the issue to department recently launched an app, KFWLaw.
Anyone who downloads the free app from the Apple App Store or Google Play can report illegal activity anonymously, and Brett said the system is much more efficient and convenient.
The app works as a direct line to the department’s supervisors in Frankfort, and they can send out the tips very quickly to the conservation officers in the districts, opposed to people having to call the tip line which takes a little longer.
“By the time they (phone complaints) get to us the people are long gone. . . the people that are committing the crimes, so what this does is give an automatic response where we are getting the information in half the time, so we are able to respond quicker,” said Brett.
The conservation officer said people who don’t have the app on their phones can also text in tips by typing in 847411 (tip411), with the keyword “KFWLAW” and the complaint, and it allows concerned citizens to be a Neighborhood Watch group for the woods and waters of Kentucky.
“We [District 8] have fifteen counties in our district and there is maybe 10 officers right now. We do the best we can, but we have a lot of ground to cover, so patrol is not going to catch everything,” said Brett.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife have nine districts that monitor about 120 counties, and Brett says they get about 1,000 complaints every year for Modern Gun season, and so far app and text line are working as the department has already received several tips since it launched earlier this month.
Brett said anyone caught taking part in illegal hunting activities is subject to a stiff fine, having their hunting license revoked and possibly their hunting rifle seized, depending on the county.
He also advises people to wear “Hunter Orange,” unbroken orange on the head, chest, and back while hunting in the woods.