The Oregon Hunters Association paid a record $24,200 in rewards to informants in poaching cases last year through its Turn In Poachers program.
The rewards were paid in a record 50 separate fish and wildlife violation cases reported to Oregon State Police statewide. Most years see about two dozen cases netting informants about $10,000.
The OHA last year increased the standard reward amounts for people who provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of fish and wildlife law violators. Now, TIP pays $100 for information in bird, fish and furbearer cases, $500 for deer, elk and antelope cases, and $1,000 for bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose cases.
Duane Dungannon, the OHA's statewide coordinator, said he believes the increased payouts and more publicity for the program led to the spike in cases, but some areas generate more TIP cases than others.
For instance, 11 cases last year came out of Albany, while just one was in Jackson County and none in Portland, Dungannon says.
"I think it bears looking into why that is," Dungannon says.
The TIP payouts are separate from cases in which other groups offer rewards in more egregious cases or those that get larger attention outside of the hunting community.
The OHA and OSP joined forces to start TIP in 1986, and it was initially funded through OHA and Leupold & Stevens. Since then it largely has been self-sustaining through state judges who require convicted violators to pay restitution to the fund, according to the OHA.
Last year, for instance, violators paid $23,917 into the TIP fund, which is about $300 less than what TIP paid out.
Also, TIP's standard rewards are $300 for habitat-destruction cases, as well as bear, cougar and wolf cases, and $200 in cases where people illegally obtain hunting or angling licenses or tags.
The OHA revealed these numbers Friday in a report to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
To report information on a case, tipsters can call the TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or email TIP@state.or.us.
Tipsters can remain anonymous and still get a reward check.
With 26 chapters and 10,000 members, the OHA is Oregon's largest hunting organization.
Steelheaders hold 'bobber dogging' clinic
The Middle Rogue Steelheaders plan two free clinics Saturday in Medford to share tips on how to use bobbers to fish effectively for steelhead either from a boat or the bank.
The clinics will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday at Sportsman's Warehouse, 1710 Delta Waters Road.
The technique, often called "bobber dogging," is a form of drift fishing with the use of a bobber.
The clinics will focus on what rods, reels, main lines and leaders to use for this technique, how to rig it up, the types of baits to use, as well as where and how to fish the technique properly.
The Middle Rogue Steelheaders are a fishing and fishery-enhancement club based in Grants Pass.