The TIP-MONT program's Board of Directors awarded $13,426 to 33 individuals who offered tips in 1998 that led to the apprehension of violators.
Cases for which rewards were paid varied from unlawful possession of wildlife and waste of game to a number of residency and license fraud violations, said Shelly Hiron, TIP-MONT coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Helena.
Last year, TIP-MONT calls resulted in 860 violation reports being distributed to field wardens for investigation. Most calls concerned elk and deer violations, but, for the first time, calls were received regarding vandalism in Montana State Parks. "We're also taking calls for the Helena National Forest in an agreement to increase coverage and better serve the public," Hiron said.
The growing number of calls is a reflection of the concern Montanans have for their fish, wildlife and parks resources, Hiron said. "Montanans owe thanks to all those who have taken the time to call 1-800-TIP-MONT. This information hotline is our first line of defense against fish and wildlife poaching and parks vandalism. People who take the time to call are among our game wardens' best allies," she said.
Over the years, thousands of tips about suspected violations have been received over the hotline-- the number for which is 1-800-847-6668. These calls have come from both inside and outside of Montana. The line is open 24 hours a day and callers can remain anonymous, do not have to testify in court and may receive a reward for their tip that helps to protect Montana's fish, wildlife and parks resources.