The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact Helps Game Wardens

Ideally game wardens spend most of their time patrolling for wildlife violators, but multi-jurisdictional check of these poachers can take up a substantial amount of their time. The introduction of the Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC) made their lives easier.

Under this agreement, states that participate use a central database to track wildlife violations. Poachers who have had their hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges taken away in one state also lose these privileges in all of the states that are members of this compact.

This has tangible benefits for wildlife agencies:

  • Game wardens don’t have to spend as much time processing violators, since non-residents are treated like residents and can be issued a ticket rather than arrested. This allows the game wardens to spend more time patrolling and apprehending poachers rather than spending their time handling legal issues.
  • Agencies have decreased caseloads and don’t have to devote as many resources to courts and jail facilities.
  • Reduced levels of incarceration and bonding lead to improved public relations.
  • Since non-residents face suspension of their privileges in their home states, there are fewer “Failure to Appear” cases.
  • The IWVC deters poachers when they know that their activities in one state will affect their ability to recreate in the other participating states.

These compacts were first developed in the West in the mid 1980s. Colorado and Nevada independently drafted compacts in 1985, and these drafts were merged to form the Wildlife Violator Compact. Compact legislation became law in Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada in 1989.

Since then, the popularity of wildlife compacts has spread across the county. Most states are now IWVC members, thus greatly improving the effectiveness of their game wardens.

Legislators based this compact on the principle of similar laws for motor vehicles:

  • Non-Resident Violator Compact
  • Drivers License Compact

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