Help Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

Eastern box turtle

Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts can play an important role in helping to protect Connecticut's native wildlife -- many of you follow conservation practices to ensure wildlife, and the habitats upon which they depend, will be around for future generations.

  • Freshwater turtles are some of the most commonly trafficked species in the United States.
  • Many turtle species are already threatened by habitat loss and collisions with cars and cannot withstand the additional pressure placed on them by wildlife traffickers.
  • If you see or hear about suspicious behavior that may be connected to poaching, notify DEEP Dispatch or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Save these Numbers!
USFWS anonymous tip line: 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477) or email
CT DEEP Dispatch (EnCon Police) Emergency: 860-424-3333
TIP - Turn in Poachers Hotline: 1-800-842-HELP (4357)

What to Look Out For

  • People with bags, poking around in wetlands and along streams, or flipping over logs and rocks.
  • Cars parked near forested areas with collection equipment -- like nets, containers, and pillowcases -- visible inside.
  • Unattended backpacks or bags left in the woods, along a trail, or near roads.
  • Sheets of metal or plywood that have been laid on the ground to attract cold-blooded reptiles and amphibians.
  • Unmarked traps set in wetlands. Traps for research will be clearly marked. (Also, note that snapping turtles, 13 inches or larger, may be legally trapped during July 15 and September 30 with a daily limit of 5 turtles and a possession and season limit of 10. A snapping turtle endorsement is required, and eggs and nests cannot be disturbed. More on snapping turtle regulations.)

What to Do If You See Something Suspicious

  1. Maintain a safe distance and protect yourself.
  2. Note the exact location, what happened, and who was involved (persons, vehicles, other witnesses).
  3. Notify DEEP Dispatch or the USFWS as soon as possible.
  4. If it is safe to do so, take photographs that can corroborate your report -- for example, the license plate of a vehicle or serial number on a turtle trap.

Do NOT confront suspicious persons or try to stop a crime yourself. Leave that to law enforcement officials.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to pay rewards for information or assistance relating to investigations. This authority is linked to specific federal wildlife laws, and the amount of the reward is commensurate with the information or assistance received. Please discuss the possibility of a reward with the special agent who receives your information. Your identity can be kept confidential.

For more information, visit the How to Report Wildlife Crime webpage on the USFWS website.

Content last updated on April 26, 2022.