Rural System's Little E-Book

Working in a
Wildlife Law Enforcement System

By Yadvendradev Jahla, Ph.D, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun,
Robert H. Giles, Jr.,Ph.D. , Rural System, and
Bhaskar Sen, West Bengal

Contents current outline

This is a small book about a very big and important topic. It needs a very big book, a new library. It is about wild animals (fauna) but also about crime and society. It is about personal esthetic appreciation of and religious regard for animals and desires to protect them and about horrible abuses of animals and people internationally. There are vast sets of different laws and regulations many designed to protect animals, others to protect property owners and businesses. Any violation of these laws creates a "wildlife law enforcement problem."

Debates continue about the role of law enforcement in wildlife management which we call faunal system management and we continue to hold that it has been and continues to be a vital part of that complex activity. While wildlife law enforcement personnel take part in many, if not all, aspects of wildlife management, this book addresses those activities that are part of the faunal law enforcement subsystem.

Wildlife law enforcement can be seen as parallel to the other major aspects of faunal system management. It is making decisions and taking actions to manipulate the structure, dynamics, and relations between wild animal populations and people to achieve specific human objectives by means of the wild faunal resource. An important objective of enforcement is to manipulate the relations between wild animal populations and people.

History can provide insights. Wildlife (game and fish) law enforcement in the United States was the initial practice in the sequential development of law enforcement, predator control. refuge establishment, artificial stocking, habitat improvement and enterprise dynamics. Wildlife law enforcement as a tool for regulating the harvest of wildlife dates back about 1,000 years in recorded history.

Wildlife mores are standards of behavior toward wildlife that are regarded by a group as necessary for the welfare of the group. Wildlife mores become wildlife laws when they are formally enacted by a duly-authorized legislative body and when violation results in officially sanctioned punishment. Wildlife laws are formal means of social control, in contrast to informal folkways, mores and customs. Laws are needed to standardize mores and penalties for violating them. Wildlife laws tend to become more important as social control agents as a society advances chronologically and culturally and as social interactions increase.

Some wildlife law or regulation violations may occur because of conflicting desires of informal social control agents (e.g. hunter groups) and formal social control agents (wildlife law enforcement divisions and their representatives).
Table 1. Definition of terms

The public, corporation, or personal organization responsible for the application of laws and regulations on wildlife protection and management within a well-defined territory. The laws are usually established in a public arena but private rules, policies, and regulations are relevant.

A person enforcing the laws and regulations on wild animal resource protection and management; an agent may be a person in charge or holding certain responsibilities, involved in state or territory operations and is, for the most part, working in the field. Synonymous: officer, warden, guard, deputy.

Agency personnel
All people working at the agency; this may imply an executive (member of the management staff, responsible for the agency), an agent, a member of the administrative staff, or a management advisor (working primarily in the office), etc.

Wildlife user
Primarily any hunter, angler, commercial fisher, or trapper whose activities aim at gathering wildlife specimens for commercial, food, recreational, or sport-oriented reasons. Other users of wildlife (e.g., birdwatchers) may also violate laws (e.g., trespass, vandalism, and littering). Some people doing research may be considered wildlife users.

Any person who illegally takes for personal or group benefits a wild animal or wild plant. The act or acts related to purposefully attempting to take or actually taking a wild animal or plant of improper species, sex, time of year, excessive numbers, or area classify any person of any description as a poacher. People seem to be opportunistic and given a special situation may act as described above, thus becoming a poacher for the first time. Once a person has poached, there are yet no categories for those who will never do so again, those who have stopped, or who are full-time engaged in the acts. Some people include all people engaged in all aspects of taking, processing, and selling wild animals and plants or their parts as poachers.

Wild faunal laws and their enforcement may be seen as means to achieving society's objectives through an agency and the courts (see Table 1 for related definitions). Agency objectives may be resource-user objectives. An agency subsystem can be conceived that deals with these laws. A system provides a practical perspective for analyzing then designing, and working with such an entity.

Herein, the parts of the system are outlined briefly and examples given, both observed and feasible, for state or provincial wildlife law enforcement agencies. Hopefully, other components may be suggested to the reader and then implemented to achieve an improved system. Generally, the more whole the system and the more interactions that are built with constructive feedback, the more effective will be the agency.

A major problem of the faunal resource manager is wildlife law violations ranging from stream pollution, illegal fishing, trespass, illegal hunting and trapping, and illegal processing or sale of animals or animal parts.

A systems approach to this large, complex and important problem is needed.

Not just doing things in sequence or logically, but taking a systems approach to wildlife law enforcement means:

  1. Seeing almost everything as a system

    Fig. 1. The components of general systems theory. The enforcement activity is analyzed as a system and then design work and adaptations are made for unique situations.

  2. Using the system to help organize and design programs, projects, and activities
  3. Using the major ideas of a general system, especially objectives and feedback
  4. Using appropriate tools, especially computers, to deal with the complexity of the wildlife-related system
  5. Concentrating on objectives
  6. Working on control and corrective methods, on feedback
  7. Shaping the system to be appropriate for the future (feedforward)
  8. Using well-designed information systems (inputs)
  9. Using the best available processes (selection of optimum mixes with trade-offs)
  10. Concentrating on interactions to get synergetic or extra-additive effects from overlaps, cooperation, and joint use, especially of ideas and physical resources.
We lay out the parts of the system, then return to discuss each fully. The key points for the manager of the local forest faunal system developing a systems approach are as follows:

Develop the Context

All systems are subsystems. The wildlife law enforcement agency fits within the state or provincial wildlife resource agency, which fits within..., etc. A broad approach is needed to work with (and within) other organizations to gain assistance and power to achieve agency objectives. Collect the relevant laws. Identify the area. Identify the relevant officers, agents, and members of the courts. Establish contacts with state, national, and international law enforcement groups and agents.

Develop Objectives
Extremely difficult because of counter forces (e.g., preventing crime and maximizing arrests). We recommend developing a set of objectives to be weighted. cells with roads and public facilities from which a point can be seen. The lower the count, the better the cell for placing the facility. The algorithm works for hiding something or finding a spot where something is conspicuous (like a signal tower or line-of-sight spot for radio-tracking animals with radio-transmitters.) An example is seen in Table 2.
Table 2. A set of wildlife law enforcement objectives to be weighted and developed into an integrated system performance measure, B*.
  • aX1 = weighted (a) politeness scale based on a questionnaire given to resource users having contact with an agent. Scale ranges from 0 to 1.0.
  • bX2 = weighted (b) law simplicity based on a questionnaire given to 100 users. The complexity scale, C, is from 0 to 1.0 and thus X2 = 1.0 - C.
  • cX3 = weighted (c) arrest-to-violation ratio. based on anonymous questionnaire results. Citizens are asked if they have violated game laws (V) and have been arrested or warned (A). X3 = (A/V + 1.0) and A/V will approach 1.0.
  • dX4 = weighted (d) public attitude toward cooperation. X4 = r/R x 100 where r is the people who would report a violation and R the people asked (a simple proportion. The ratio r/R will approach 1.0.
  • eX5 = weighted (e) admitted violators. Number (V) of all asked (R) if they have committed a violation X5 = (1.0 - V/R).
  • fX6 = weighted (f) admitted violators of a major game law such as deer spotlighting. Thus, X6 = (1.0 - VD/R).
  • gX7 = weighted (g) hunter satisfaction index where X7 = (1.0 - (S/RI)) and S is the number of users saying agents significantly impaired their hunt by their inspection and RI are respondents having been inspected.
  • hX8 = weighted (h) safety index where X8 = (1.0 - ((accidents - accidents t-1) / accidents t-1) x 100.
  • iX9 = weighted (i) change in proportion of license sales to people in hunting age classes. If X9 is equal to or greater than 1.0, then X9 = 1.0, then X9 = 1.0, otherwise it is the actual value where X9 = (1.0 - (sales t - sales t-1) /sales t-1)).

The agency performance can be analyzed as:

B* = ((WjXj )/ Wj) x 100

and the maximum agency performance score is 100.

System Inputs
System inputs range from ideas, through gasoline and money, to data from the field. The work in volves developing a data base, in cooperation with other law agencies if possible, on resource users (i.e., license buyers), the general public, crimes committed, enforcement effort, and crime type, time, and location.

The information must be directly and specifically related to the objective(s) and none collected until after a computer program is developed for its analysis. There are already too many unused data bases, and agents spend too much time submitting reports, the data on which have no influence on any decisions. Data submission, coding, storage, retrieval, and processing all cost money. The faunal system needs its limited resources spent very wisely - only on information used in decision making.

The key topics about which decisions are required, always considering categories that might be changed, include:

These allow change in weighted crimes to be assessed relative to efforts spent to prevent or apprehend them.

One fundamental input to any decision-related system is that provided by research. To operate such a large and expensive subsystem as wildlife law enforcement on little more than intuition seems inappropriate. Research is needed on objectives; the causes of crimes (most of which are misdemeanors); the characteristics of violators; the relative effectiveness of techniques of education, deterrence, and patrol; search strategies; influence of social factors on crime rates; effects of violations on population dynamics; poacher behavior patterns; and influential treatments to reduce illegal import-export of animals or animal parts.


Developing effective, coordinated processes of the system include:

  1. Work to improve the set of laws.
  2. Prevent law violations, a range of activities from informing people of changes in laws and regulations to incentives, threats, and counteraction.
  3. Work to educate the local courts about handling arrests and knowledge of the relevant law.
  4. Assure high conviction rates on arrests.
  5. Educate the relevant user groups about the laws related to their resource use. "Ignorance of the law" is said by the courts to be no excuse, but there is vast, vast ignorance of the wildlife law. There is thus little surprise when so much of it is violated.
  6. Measure current violation rates or attitude toward certain laws, then use measured amounts of behavioral change efforts to cause measured the relevant groups.
  7. Make convictions and fines conspicuous.
  8. Recruit violators into an organization or into individual activity to enhance wildlife.
  9. Work for economic improvement for those who violate game or trapping laws for meat or family survival or subsistence.
  10. Work for alternative "excitement" for those who play the warden- poacher game.
  11. Concentrate apprehension on the highly-weighted crimes. Some laws are educational and violations have little impact on the resource or other user benefits.
  12. Develop a diverse integrated strategy of: (1) clarifying and simplifying the law, (2) education and prevention, (3) conspicuous presence and apprehension, (4) conspicuous conviction, (5) substituting service hours for fines (notably small and often suspended), (6) reporting of enforcement systems progress (quarterly or annual scores), (7) making reports easily made about perceived violations, (8) rewarding reporters, (9) keeping close contact with resource user organizations to clarify violators' acts as anti-social, not solitary or merely an offense against an animal, "the warden," or "the state," and (10) use of modern police methods and techniques.


Feedback or continuing corrective action applies to all parts of the syatem, including itself. Questioning and corrective action need to be applied throughout. Objectives are essential as the standards are set for the desired conditions. Feedback first asks and assures: are the objectives properly stated? Then the questions may follow about whether all other aspects of the system are operating optimally.

Comparisons among areas and groups can be useful. Awards can be useful for superior performances. Reporting of success to the public - at least progress - is useful.

Flag systems to alert the manager to unusual lows or highs in performance, trends, or violation rates so that changes can be made.

Having each part of the system operational may be viewed as a criterion for the relative goodness of such a system (a gross Type-3 objective). Each part can be assigned a relative weight, an estimate or judgment about the effectiveness of that unit. The question is simply: How well, based on a concept of near perfection, is each component of the system being achieved. This is a statement of the estimated probability of genuine achievement. The average product of all of the assigned probabilities (qi) of each part of the system operating well, weighted by their relative, non-zero importance, wi, is Q, an index to how well the system is operating. Thus

Q =( Nu wi qi / Sigma wi ) / n.

The value of Q can quickly become very small (e.g., if 3 units of 1.0-weighted parts of the system are achieving only one-third effectiveness, then

Q = (0.33 x 0.33 x 0.33)/3 = 0.012).

See CAP50, CAP5043, and CAP2028 for studying these components of an agency. The need is to gain a Q value as large as possible. Q can be plotted as it changes over the years.


No one can know the future, but there are a lot of things we can say about it with confidence. If an agent is in hot pursuit of a boat on a forested lake and the boat being chased at high speed is 20 feet from a partly submerged tree, most people will agree that the boat will be demolished. There may be a lot of screaming and steering and some slight change but we can bet on destruction. We can predict the future! A better analogy for the wildlife law enforcement system is a barge. We are looking at a large, lumbering hulk of a system - a system of wildlife, forests, other land uses, and people. After the command to stop, a barge will still move along. It will eventually stop, perhaps at some predictable spot. It responds, but according to some well-known laws. These are not guesses, they are reasonable predictions, things known with a high level of confidence.

We are looking at a barge-like system, a society and ecosystem that is big, slow, and not likely to change rapidly. There is good news in this - and bad. The good news is that we have time to get ready for the future. The bad news is that we may not be able to change fast enough to avoid the coming catastrophes.I am willing to think about the future, to engage in feedforward, because I believe that if we are prepared, we can avoid the pains and problems. On some days, I believe we can shape and mold the future. We do not have to be responders, merely getting out of the way, merely avoiding problems. Continuing the analogy, we appear to be in a barge without power, adrift, moved by tides, winds, and waves. Imagine regaining power. We can even push our minds to decide on ways to influence the forces - how to block the winds, how to build structures to control the tides.

Our premises and part of our feedforward subsystem are:

  1. Good predictions are possible.
  2. We can use predictions:

Some changes are coming because they should be. Piecemeal work on change will not be sufficient, any more than for building a barge. You do not pick and choose the parts you will include. A total, functional, designed strategy is needed. Law enforcement is called upon to deal with endangered species as well as pests and predator problems. It has had major development in hunting societies.

The U.S. and Canada have had relatively stable license revenues for many years. There have been license value adjustments so we can see some decline in hunting license buyers, increases in angling licenses bought. Inflation has reduced the buying power of agency income from licenses (about 300 million dollars annually). Nationally, there has been no increase in the number of licensed hunters since 1975. Since the total population has increased, this means the hunting proportion has decreased. Anglers have increased. We need to keep thinking about the importance of hunters, but must also realize that we deal with a minority population. If they all could agree, and if they all voted, we could only amass 10% of the vote! It is important to keep our eyes on the percent of hunters because politicians and others do. The percent is influenced by three classes of factors:

Population density
Age structure of population
History of hunting or angling within the close family

Residence of population
Habitat losses (a)
Access to habitat (b)
Interaction of a and b
Price of gasoline, influencing access

Annual Factors:
License price
Local management changes
Perceived hunting success in previous years
Perceived number of hunters; social acceptability
Perceived danger from hunting accidents.

The last class of factors causes some change but the People and Area factors are the driving forces. They cause the big swings.

The percentage of the population (not the total) that hunts is decreasing. The present population has a high dropout rate as hunters. These dropouts are hunters - and part of them are poachers. The wildlife law enforcement agency cannot keep up its current arrest rate because the poachers are changing. A constant enforcement program will result in decreasing arrests, not because of officers' action (deterrence or whatever it is called), but because there are fewer violators.

The successors of today's officer (hereinafter "agent") may have an increase in violators but probably not. Now one-fourth of the children in the U.S. live in single-parent homes. In most of these, the children live with their mother. Few women hunt. (Less than half of 1 percent do so.) Individuals learn to hunt from their family. The male teachers are gone; the male hunter-image or hero figure is being lost. The hunters will decrease because of the family change as well as because families move from rural to urban conditions. As hunters decrease, license buyers will decrease, and agency support will decrease. Game law violators will probably decrease because the potential violators are a part of this non-male related family change. The small scale violations will persist and perhaps increase due to changing attitudes toward the law and its enforcement and ignorance. Because of these changes and without special new efforts, financial support for an increasing or even stable agency program is likely to become difficult to sustain.

Fishing increases but it is leveling off quickly. It is where growth in wildlife law enforcement agency work can occur, but only in a limited way.

Returning to the Parts of the System and Working with Them

Identifying the Potential Violator Population

The work of enforcement is seen from the managers' view point. He or she is or can be in control. The system has structure and it can be seen as simply

  1. the Violators,
  2. the Agents,
  3. the Agency,
  4. the Public
The overlaps are evident but standard within all natural resource issues and problems. The Context is always fuzzy, never a clear sharp line. We can start (not because of its importance, for all parts of a well designed system are of essential importance) with the violator subsystem. Because of spectacular likely changes in the future, there is a need to be able to compute the potential violator population. You can imagine an agent claiming he or she doubled the arrest rate. He or she had one arrest before; now 2! The comparison is wrong. It needs to be made relative to the maximum, not the past or the minimum. We have proposed a means to estimate this population (Giles and Diamond, CAP5013). The concept is fairly straightforward. Work only with a select set of major crimes. Determine the age and gender of people who commit these crimes. Determine the proportion of this group that either owns guns or hunts. This group represents the potential violator population. Each year these change and such changes result in a fluctuating number of potential violators. Arrest rates should be adjusted to these changing numbers.

In West Virginia, for example, people, age 15 to 45 are about 45 percent of the population. Of these, 49 percent are males. Of these, 69 percent own guns. Thus, the potential violator pool (obviously not all violators, only a unit for comparison) is about 290,000 people. Further refined by subtracting blind and handicapped people and those opposed to hunting and firearms, the number can be reduced. If 2 percent are actively poaching on any day and there are 100 officers, then there are about 58 violators per officer on any day. Arrests related to this number are likely to provide new insights into the officers' and agency's performance.

Damage-Related Work

The rural areas are changing in two conflicting directions. More small farms are going fallow - with some wildlife species increases. Other farms are starting more intensive operations with larger cultivated areas and consequent wildlife decreases. The crop values are high; the wildlife influences, though less in number, are greater and produce real damage. In both situations the apparent damage problems are increasing...while hunters in the US and elsewhere, potentially suppressing populations, are decreasing! The results - accelerating demand for wildlife-related damage control or compensation, both activities typically involving the agent. Further, there have been an increase in people leaving the cities to live in rural areas. They typically do not know how to protect themselves and their property from ordinary wildlife problems.

Education as a Major System Process

While ignorance of the law is no excuse for its violation, Beattie and Giles (1979) found most people in Virginia were ignorant of the wildlife laws. I suspect the same elsewhere. I cannot convince myself that it is every citizen's job to read and learn the intricate faunal, game, and fish laws and regulations of a state. Even learning the details of the entire code seems excessive for a hunter seeking one species in the same area for many years. There has to be some means to bridge this knowledge gap. The violation rate can surely decrease if knowledge increases. It is a researchable topic. Time and money can probably be effectively spent on teaching crime-specific , area-specific knowledge. Spending public money on such topics as meanders on Mars or even bird appreciation can be deferred until substantial change occurs in the knowledge base of citizens about the laws protecting fauna.

A few years ago, most game-related prosecutions in West Virginia, USA, just for example, occurred for violation of laws against carrying loaded or uncased guns in vehicles. These 965 cases constituted 14 percent of all prosecutions. This topic seems a perfect target for an educator bent on the greatest possible behavioral change per dollar spent by an agency.

In contrast to the above, I doubt if education is the way to stop deer spotlighters. To whom would such education be presented? How would behavioral change be measured? For example only, there were 20 prosecutions for this in West Virginia in one year. When teaching is perceived as causing behavior to change, then lectures may be one way to cause change, but "making a person an offer he can't refuse" may be another. Buying a half of a beef carcass for a person's freezer may be 10 times more cost-effective than the costs of vehicle travel and time spent in 10 stake-outs required to make a case against that same person living in poverty who poaches deer for meat for his family. At least such a tactic would provide more satisfaction than having the court dismiss the case! (not uncommon). If the spotlighting behavior changes, the crime disappears - perhaps that is what is needed. But that requires confidence in objectives.

Some education takes place when an agent checks a license; when a law is written. Action programs, however, are conducted by the enforcement staff in some areas, by a larger agency education staff elsewhere. There needs to be a major decision. Who should do it? We think that there needs to be a separation: the person who may take you to court for punishment should not be the person teaching you about wildlife, the law, the importance of the resource, and how to use it wisely. Education subsystem components may include an optimum mix (perhaps estimated with a linear programming methodology) from among:

  1. Documentation concerning the laws and regulations on wildlife conservation and wildlife habitats
  2. Documentation concerning the value of wildlife habitats and of wildlife itself
  3. Reports on the activities of the agency and of its agents
  4. Reports on hunting, trapping, and fishing activities
  5. Training of the public by agents
  6. Training of the public by outsiders specialized in communication
  7. Training of the public by different organizations or associations interested in protecting wildlife
  8. Conferences
  9. Courses or group sessions
  10. Radio
  11. Television
  12. Newspapers
  13. Permanent exhibits and/or participation in itinerant or periodical exhibits
  14. Leaflets
  15. Slides
  16. Recordings, records
  17. Movies and video cassettes.

The audience needs to be decided and the importance of each weighted: hunters and other users, adults, children, other clients, the courts, the general public? I suspect that one day the characteristics of violators can be known well enough to target groups of them for specific education.

Educating the Agents about the Agency Processes

A major part of any agency program should be staff education. This includes entry level work as well as continuing education and so-called in-service education. The topics often listed as relevant are (and which need to be weighted for selection locally):

  1. Patrol techniques
  2. "Tracking down" techniques
  3. Inquiry techniques
  4. Firing and arms-handling techniques
  5. Crowd control techniques
  6. Self-defense techniques.

Other training may include:

  1. Physical training
  2. Swimming
  3. Motorcycle riding
  4. Mechanical techniques
  5. Orientations techniques
  6. First aid techniques
  7. Techniques in forest survival
  8. Legislation and regulations
  9. Wildlife, natural sciences, biology or ecology
  10. Management, administration, or writing reports
  11. Human relations and public relations (oral expression techniques).

Education and its careful timing may be planned for:

  1. Standard local police schools or federal schools
  2. Universities
  3. Specialized private schools
  4. Staff-led workshops and conferences
  5. Field exercises and meetings
  6. Encouraged self-education (books, tapes, video cassettes, etc.)
  7. Part of an agency newsletter

Such newsletters often include:

  1. The laws and regulations on wildlife conservation
  2. The agent's powers and duties
  3. Hunting, fishing and trapping techniques
  4. Illegal techniques used by violators
  5. Natural sciences, wildlife, biology, ecology, etc.
  6. Training and advanced education methods available to agents
  7. The agency's objectives and the evaluation statistics of performance
  8. The agents' activities, patrols, surveillance and/or inquiries
  9. Infractions of the law, legal proceedings and sentencing
  10. Methods and means of intervention used or considered by the agency

The Agency and Its Processes

The power of an agency to act and work to achieve perceived objectives varies according to local law and the decided structure of faunal system law enforcement work. The branches in a potential decision tree emerge from the nodes of ability to enforce laws or take action related to:

  1. Investigate trespass on public (or private) land
  2. Arrest with (or without) a warrant
  3. Search of a vehicle with (or without) a warrant
  4. Search of a building with (or without) a warrant
  5. Seize goods with (or without) a warrant
  6. Confiscate goods with (or without) a warrant
  7. Enforce the criminal code
  8. Enforce environmental laws (other than wildlife)
  9. Enforce laws related to parks and reserves
  10. Search for missing persons (any or wildlife users only)
  11. Fight forest fires
  12. Engage in "peace keeping" (e.g., domestic or civil disturbance).

The staff (or entire agency) participate in formulating and elaborating laws and regulation in various amounts. These vary with trapping, angling, commercial fishing, hunting, and other wildlife resource use. The various amounts can be evaluated along a scale such as in Table 3.

Table 3. A general scale for the amount of participation of the wildlife law enforcement agency in preparing and elaborating laws and regulations related to the wildlife resource (trapping, hunting, angling, commercial fishing, and other use).
1. Direct and total responsibility for elaborating all laws and regulations.
2. Shared responsibility for elaborating a majority of the laws and regulations.
3. Shared responsibility for elaborating a majority of the laws and regulations and, in most of the remaining cases, consultation.
4. Shared responsibility for elaborating a minority of the laws and regulations and, in most of the remaining cases, consultation.
5. No responsibility whatsoever but, in most cases, consultation.
6. No responsibility whatsoever and, in a few cases, consultation.
7. No responsibility and no consultation whatsoever.

In seeking to obtain an estimate of an agency's effectiveness, such analyses provide a coefficient, one useful in judging whether an agency must work diligently to enforce a law or regulation in which it had no role in writing and even strong objections, or to work with regulations for which they had full responsibility.

Gaining Control over the System

In industry is found the concept of cybernetics: the study of control theory. We are all familiar with the household control device, the thermostat. It demonstrates automated change and the continual dynamic shaping of a system. There will be agencies that gain control of the law enforcement effort. The possible control measures include:

1. Sharing reports, at least regionally, to compare progress and performance at least to engage in a low-key competition of agency excellence (not some trivial pistol shooting competition).

2. Using internal evaluators, ombudsmen, who are empowered to compare, contrast, and suggest improvements.

3. Developing an attitude of adjustment and change, a kind of tentativeness, one of setting up situations for creative, adaptive work.

4. Doing demographic analyses to gain knowledge of the number of potential violators and how that number changes.

5. Improving control over the time resource. Agency budgets change, but the magnitude is relatively the same. Personnel costs are very high, usually a large percent of the total budget. Because of personnel costs, discretionary funds, i.e., money to be allocated wisely to improve the system, are relatively few. Control (allocation studies, models, and procedures), therefore, must be over how time is spent. New performance indices are needed to accompany the concept of time being the real cost of law enforcement.

6. Taking a systems approach (See Chapter 1 and Giles and Scott 1969). "Pinching violators", the more the better, may be sufficient for some agencies, but the modern agency probably sees itself as a part of a dynamic resource system, one producing a variety of abundant benefits for people at low costs. That agency can take a systems approach - the only way we can see for dealing with the hard questions and complexity that every natural resource or environmental agency faces.

Further Work on the System Components


Objectives can hardly be over-emphasized because without objectives all actions are equally good. Increasingly technology, society, and the agency within it, will have to balance know-how with know-why. The answers to why are found in sets of objectives.

Consider an objective of "To have the fewest arrests possible." This sounds reasonable. However, to achieve this, the agent might sleep late, drink much coffee, and go home early. There could be zero arrests...but for the wrong reasons. An alternative, however, is that poachers could be excessively afraid of being caught and everyone may have been taught the laws. An alternative objective of "To have many arrests" sounds reasonable too, because the agent obviously needs to be busy. However, the agent could be emphasizing the easy arrests, concentrating where people gather. Which is best? Both cannot be. What are good objectives - for the agent, agency, resource, or citizens? These have to be developed so that time, resources, talents, and money can be rationally allocated. How can you tell? You allocate to achieve objectives. We have done some work with this (Ritter 1975; Beattie, Cowles, and Giles 1977; Giles 1978, Bullard 1993) and at least some guides are available. Publishing a list of objectives is the first and most important step toward developing a systems approach to wildlife law enforcement.

Giles (1978) described the difficulties of formulating wildlife law enforcement objectives. It is suggested that a composite list be developed and that each objective weighted in importance. Examples of potential objectives are: Probable duplication in this section......


Wildlife law enforcement objectives, or statements of desired outcomes, are important for measuring enforcement program achievement. Unfortunately, most state wildlife law enforcement divisions don't have enforcement objectives and criteria for measuring objectives. About 1 of every 5 state vildlife law enforcement divisions has 1 or more objectives and 1 or more measurement criteria for each objective.There are many objectives of the subsystem. A list of potential objectives developed over many years in research projects at Virginia Tech include:

  1. Decreasing the number of violations and of offenders, and arresting the latter as a means of ensuring that laws and regulations are fully observed.
  2. Preventing abusive exploitation of fish and animal species covered under a controlled exploitation.
  3. Enhancing the quality of the hunting, fishing, and trapping experience.
  4. Protecting hunters, anglers and trappers from the dangers and abuses involved in illegal activities.
  5. Providing for the safety of hunters, anglers, trappers, and other users of outdoor resources.
  6. Ensuring the agency a stable income, e.g., by controlling the selling of permits and collecting fines from violators of the laws and regulations.
  7. Preventing endangered wildlife populations from disappearing in Designated areas.
  8. Preventing animal from becoming threatened or endangered.
  9. Ensuring each individual an even opportunity to use the wildlife population, and that no one individual or group abuse this resource to the detriment of others.
  10. Ensuring all citizens maximum pleasure and satisfaction from experiences with all species of the wildlife resources.
  11. Discouraging lawlessness, in general, by enforcement of the wildlife segment of the laws.
  12. To provide a special type of education and general behavioral change toward a socially-acceptable standard
  13. Protecting the ecological health of environments, especially from pollution and conflicts in land use.
  14. Assuring desired population harvest levels are achieved.
  15. Improving or achieving a balance between users expectations and their actual experiences (satisfaction).
  16. Providing certain types of research and survey data.
  17. Protecting property, land owners, and hunters from hunters (safety).
  18. Protecting commercial interests (e.g., crops, livestock, orchards) from wildlife.
  19. Secondary, policy, and philosophy-related objectives (a variety of "types") are abundant:

Staff, as part of this plan, should assign a weight (W) or relative importance to each objective. Then annually, a subjective evaluation (K) (perhaps on a scale of 0 to 10) can be given to each and an overall annual subsystem score (S) obtained. Procedures will be provided.

It will be clear from the above that a simple statement of a wildlife law enforcement system will not serve anyone well. An objective of reducing arrests (logical if poaching has been prevented) can promote inaction by a scheming officers (i.e., to get a good score, make no arrests!). Awards are given for maximum arrests, but an agent who is very effective in education, prevention, and early arrests could never gain such an award. Hundreds of small-crime arrests might counter one or two carefully-planned arrests developed over several years for a single highly-valued case.

  1. Decreasing the number of violations and of offenders, and arresting the latter as a means of ensuring that laws and regulations are fully observed.
  2. Preventing abusive exploitation of fish and animal species covered under a controlled exploitation.
  3. Enhancing the quality of the hunting, fishing, and trapping experience.
  4. Protecting hunters, anglers and trappers from the dangers and abuses involved in illegal activities.
  5. Ensuring the agency a stable income, e.g., by controlling the selling of permits and collecting fines from violators of the laws and regulations.
  6. Preventing endangered wildlife populations from disappearing in Designated areas.
  7. Providing for the safety of hunters, anglers, and trappers.
  8. Ensuring the individual an even opportunity to use the wildlife population, and that no one individual or group abuse this resource to the detriment of others.
  9. Ensuring all citizens maximum pleasure and satisfaction from experiences with all species of the wildlife resources.
  10. Discouraging lawlessness, in general, by enforcement of the wildlife segment of the laws.
  11. Preventing animal from becoming threatened or endangered.
  12. Protecting the ecological health of environments, especially from pollution and conflicts in land use.
  13. Assuring desired population harvest levels are achieved.
  14. Improving or achieving a balance between users' expectations and their actual experiences (satisfaction).
  15. Providing certain types of research and survey data.
  16. Protecting property, land owners, and hunters from hunters (safety).
  17. Protecting commercial interests (e.g., crops, livestock, orchards) from wildlife.

Secondary, policy, and philosophy-related objectives (a variety of "types") are abundant:

  1. Developing clear, simple, enforceable laws
  2. Preventing unlawful acts
  3. Preventing a repeat of any unlawful act
  4. Increasing the probability of unlawful acts being reported
  5. Insuring high agents' morale and satisfaction with the agency
  6. Increasing the agency budget
  7. Increasing the conviction rate
  8. Increasing the fines (equivalent or value) derived on those convicted
  9. Decreasing suspensions of convictions Reducing or stabilizing agency costs
  10. Increasing agency employees (number) employed.

Further Work on Inputs

System inputs (see Chapter 6) are money, power, energy, information, and equipment that flow into an agency and are used to seek the objectives. Many of the following now exist in some agencies. All do not, and some, probably, are needed.

1. Data Base - Maintain comprehensive information system on laws, agents, hunters, trappers, anglers, suspected violators, and suspected poacher aids (e.g., markets). Uniform nomenclature and coding can allow rapid progress in analyses within and among states and provinces (Pyle 1974, Morse 1984).

2. Poacher Information System - Develop generalized personality profiles on poachers or other major law violators, and information on convicted and suspected poachers. Study the dynamics of the poacher population and factors that influence it.

3. Agent Evaluation System - Maintain an evaluation procedure for all agents to include rewards and incentives related to: (a) general knowledge about resources and the agency, (b) knowledge of the law, (c) physical conditioning, (d) problem solving, (e) synthesis, and (f) performance.

4. The Agent - An effective screening and selection procedure is needed, including preliminary announcements that: (a) provide information about the agency and (b) reduce applications to only those with a reasonable chance of acceptance (reducing rejections and related negative public relations that result).

5. Agent's Book - Publish an agent's book to improve operations and provide assistance to other enforcement groups.

6. Education - Engage in designing a cost-effective, well balanced public system, including:

Educational targets include:

  1. Youth organizations (e.g., shaping the allocation of funds to include agency objectives).
  2. Education groups, especially teacher groups.
  3. Travel agencies, vacation advertising, notices in the popular press (to get the message out that laws are strictly enforced and that information is widely available).
  4. Guide, supplier, and outfitter groups which are assisted and for whom information is provided.
  5. The presses which are provided general newspaper articles and announcements.
  6. Sporting groups (newsletters, etc.).
  7. Restaurants.
  8. Food locker owners and meat suppliers.
  9. Other law enforcement groups.
  10. Forestry and other public land agency administration.

The agency's constructive influence can be widespread. It can achieve great power by the synergistic effects of such involvement.

Research Results as Inputs to Decisions

Wildlife law enforcement cannot continue to spend 40% or more of the agency's budget with so little justification, little backing, and little grounding in efficiency and effectiveness. In wildlife conservation, the funds have always been limited. They have greatly increased in the U.S. over 50 years but there appear to be hard financial times ahead and the questions about effectiveness will be asked frequently and with little tolerance. Difficulty of the questions will be no excuse for not having the answers.

I have outlined wildlife research needs (Giles et al. 1971, Giles 1974, Giles and Ritter 1974) yet some people do not see the possibilities or how to do such research. Research has to be a part of the future of wildlife law enforcement (Beattie et al. 1977, Beattie and Giles 1979). The overriding concepts are:

  1. Every state needs the results but all do not have to do research.
  2. Great economy can be experienced by a regional approach (such as in wildlife statistics when years ago an institute was created in North Carolina).
  3. Biologists can be of help but they are poorly prepared to deal with the socioeconomic and psychological dimensions of such research.
  4. An applied orientation is needed, often making the studies seem more likely to pay off than classical experiments.
  5. Expert systems or rule- and knowledge-based systems are more likely to pay off than classical experiments. See CAP54.
  6. Information systems for wildlife, areas, and people are needed. No system by itself will suffice for law enforcement efforts. Wildlife systems and geographic information systems are now readily available. Unfortunately, systems for resource users and violators are rarely available but can be created.
  7. Late starting, wildlife law enforcement research can make giant steps forward using techniques and methods now well developed.
  8. Agents already collect and report much data. By each continuing such observations and revising and adding some, a wealth of useful information can be collected cost-effectively without the addition of new "research staff." Careful attention to feedback in a research system can allow every agent to be a vital, part-time member of the research team.
  9. There need to be named crimes and categories agreed upon by several states so that analyses can be made (a uniform reporting system). Now data are badly lumped. For example, an extra trout in the creel is in some states as important a case as that for deer spotlighting.

Process Related "Projects"

The project types that we suggest and some already in operation that might be shared among agencies to work collectively against violators are:

1. A Computer Aid for Setting and Revising AgencyObjectives
Stating objectives properly is very difficult. There are many rules and criteria. There are many dimensions to each objective. Without a set of very well developed objectives, an agency cannot provide itself with constructive adaptation and revisions to meet current conditions or to allocate time or money rationally. This would be a user-friendly program for a PC computer.

2. An Agent's Patrolling Aid
It makes sense to follow a tip or lead, but without one, a computer program would suggest a randomly selected patrol route to minimize cost and match season with species-related violations.

3. Poacher Visibility
Using radio-telemetry, as with animals, agents and simulated violators are studied to determine how visible are violators given different dress, time of day, season, vegetation, terrain, and other factors. Use: to quantify the likely effectiveness of an hour spent in a walking or driving search.

4. The Broad View
Landscape analyses using computer maps to quantify what an agent can see and hear from roads and vantage points. Allows areas to be compared. Helps select optimum vantage points and patrol routes. Also wildfire control related.

5. Interviews With Violators
A search for common characteristics of different types of violators. Determines the influence of knowledge of game laws, family behavior, knowledge of the agents' behavior, and markets on violators.

6. Methods to Influence Compliance and Violation Rates
Experimental tests in different areas to cause an agent's or agency's performance measure(s) to change significantly.

7. A Computer System for Analyzing the Human Population of a State for Wildlife Law Enforcement Agency Planning
A new word-processor-based, dynamically evolving planning and guidance system can be used as the base.

8. Ownership: How Private Land Ownership Patterns Influence Wildlife Law Enforcement and Violations
Size, shape, distribution, habitat type, and nearness to cities and public hunting areas all influence hunting and violations. These differences may be able to explain differences in crime rates among areas and influence the effectiveness scores of agents.

9. The Agent and Crop and Livestock Damage Complaints
Regional survey of practices and preparation of a computer aid for analyzing situations and developing reports to landowners as well as to a claims-payment authority.

10. How Each Regulation Influences the Resource
Some regulations are to protect the resource, others the hunters, some to distribute the harvest equitably, some to assure license revenues for the agency, and some have other or unspecified purposes. There are needs to evaluate which objectives are most important and how each regulation contributes. With limited resources, the most important ones may have to get most attention. Computer simulation is proposed.

Research or administrative studies (often a type of feedback) or systems development is done to create inputs for decisions. Research-based administration (even called systems development) creates processes for improving decisions and redirecting action. It selects subsystems excellent for adapting and improving systems as well as predicting. It even allows studies of how to create an optimum subsystem for formulating and analyzing objectives. Research (in its various forms, but with increasing precision and quantification) is essential to a systems approach

11. Courts Project
Conduct an educational and public relations program to reach the courts to explain wildlife law, improve the sentences, and achieve fairness and balance in convictions relative to reported cases and arrests. Study efforts to create special local courts.

12. Conviction Program
Implement a program for convicted violators including: (a) warnings, (b) work-forces relating to wildlife, and (c) work for money to improve wildlife situations.

13. License Program
Use a variety of treatments including (a) punching scheme (hole punched at each warning by an officer), (b) revocation, (c) increased later costs after conviction, (d) suspension, and (e) reduced fees over time for law obeisance.

14. Volunteer Force
Develop a program for gaining and supervising deputies for (a) assisting with work force, and (b) assisting in research.

15. Informers
Implement a program to turn in law violators (Beattie 1976 a and b). Anonymous phone calls are solicited. In some areas (where non-anonymous), rewards are made if arrests occur.

16. Telephone Book "Yellow Pages"
Advertising extensively appropriate telephone numbers for citizens to call about observed violations. Automated answering services may be combined with the numbers. The internet and web sites open possibilities.

17. Undercover Force
Operate an undercover force to maximize information about and to stop high value crimes.

18. Law Quality Committee
Activate a committee to screen and assure that all laws are well stated, brief, and meet biological and other constraints (Giles 1974). Publish a "score" for the quality of existing laws and regulations.

19. Simulator
Use a computer simulator to aid in exploring effects of changes in society (e.g., age of people in a region Giles and Diamond, above analyses), in the economy (e.g., effects of unemployment), in enforcement effort (e.g., agents allocated Cowles and Giles 1982), in hunting attitude, in rural living, in deterrence, and other factors on actual and likely violators and thus on agency objectives.

20. Outlet Surveillance
Conduct a program to survey outlets for illegal wildlife such as:
(a) meat coolers,
(b) butcher shops, and
(c) fur markets and exports.

21. Deterrence Committee
Operate a strategic committee to study effects of and implement optimal deterrence of poachers and wildlife law disobedience.

22. Poacher Display
Invite poachers and other major violators to display their craft and techniques at trapper-hunter-angler meetings and shows.

23. Payment Strategy
Explore cost-effective techniques for using money to reduce law enforcement problems (e.g., subsidy of food-needy families; pay for not poaching; and damage claims).

24. Random Road Checks
Design a system for stopping cars and checking for illegal material or actions.

25. License Display
Require a field coat display of licenses for hunting and fishing.

26. Violation Display
Require display of a "convicted status" symbol on license and field clothes while hunting for at least one year after conviction.

27. Native Peoples Taskforce
Organize a taskforce to minimize stressful situations among native people, wildlife laws, and their enforcement.

28. Unemployed Taskforce
Organize a taskforce to minimize poaching and maximize the human potentials of the unemployed.

29. Cowles' Workforce Allocation
Improve allocation in time and space to meet seasonal needs for lowest possible costs (Cowles 1979).

Processes as Actions and Practices

Agents seem to be called upon to do everything. The following list of such activities may be weighted in terms of the likelihood of each activity contributing to one or more objectives (listed) of an agency. Then actual actions (and how well each is performed) may be judged relative to how well each contributes to the agency's performance and achieving objectives:

  1. Provide gun sighting-in areas
  2. Provide archery sighting-in areas
  3. Help fit arms
  4. Place signposts
  5. Distribute law digests
  6. Distribute copies of the total code
  7. Provide maps
  8. Suggest good hunting spots
  9. Suggest accommodations (e.g., meals, hotels)
  10. Issue permits
  11. Discourage harvesting when there is deep snow cover
  12. Harass wildlife before or during the season to reduce or increase the harvest
  13. Collect biological or survey data
  14. Control vertebrate predators or pests
  15. Remove vertebrate pests from urban areas (skunks, bears)
  16. Assist injured animals
  17. Patrol on foot for violators
  18. Patrol by aircraft for violators
  19. Patrol by vehicle for violators
  20. Patrol by snowmobile for violators
  21. Patrol by horse for violators
  22. Patrol by boat for violators
  23. Improve habitat directly (seeding, fertilizing, planting, etc.)
  24. Stock fish or animals
  25. Give educational presentations to small groups of community leaders
  26. Give educational presentations to adults or children
  27. Make TV presentations or programs
  28. Make radio presentations or programs
  29. Write newspaper articles
  30. Distribute agency literature
  31. Guide hunters or anglers
  32. Conduct bird hikes or nature walks for children or adults.

Agents' Time and Process Efficiency

It is usually possible for agents to estimate the time they spend in various activities. The quality of the estimates improves if "hunting" and "other seasons" are the two categories of the year used. The activity categories may be:

  1. Relating to public information and education on safety, laws, regulations, and the value of wildlife and of wildlife habitats.
  2. Relating to public order and safety, and to assistance in cases of missing persons, forest fires, etc.
  3. Dealing with assisting, advising and even guiding hunters, fishermen and trappers, users of wildlife resources.
  4. Dealing with biological or ecological research and other similar activities, through gathering and analyzing data.
  5. Making patrols, surveillance, verification, inquiries, and special intervention to enforce laws and regulations.
  6. Related to the administration of the justice such as appearing in court, delivering search warrants, witnessing, etc.
  7. Managing files, equipment, training, self-improvements, coordination, and sending reports to superior authorities, etc.

Time clearly spent on apprehending violators (No. 5 above) needs to be investigated since surely convictions are a function of such work. Convictions of highly-weighted crimes (Bullard and Giles 1993) may take more time; this is the essence of the problem ... how to allocate preciously little available agent time to achieving convictions. The following general actions can be estimated. Perhaps some day a model can be created that estimates convictions in a region based on how time is allocated to each (and all) of the methods employed. These methods may include:

Each of the above patrol types can be further analyzed for its main purpose or utility such as:

  1. A means of inspecting the territory or area
  2. A means of countering unlawful acts due to their psychological effects on users
  3. A means of direct intervention and enforcement of laws and regulations
  4. Logistical support for agents dispersed in the field
  5. Logistical support for the transportation of material and equipment.

The general conduct can be analyzed as:

Time spent in the above activities is difficult to judge so averages or median values are to be used; best estimates of hours per week and/or weeks per year. The need is for some reasonable amount of time as a proportion of agents' overall tasks. Profit analyses may be a useful methodology for studies.

Laws and regulations are created by the people and their representatives for a reason. We analyze that and rephrase it as to achieve one or more objectives. As agents we take that as given (though by our legal feedback may seek to improve the statement). Then we can begin to analyze the inputs and processes that will help achieve that law, prevent its violation, and allow the agency to achieve its objectives (already outlined as difficult to decide or discover). The important and useful analyses of laws are species specific and include:

  1. Species that can be taken as well as their age, size, sex, weight, etc.
  2. Areas in which taking is permitted (regions, refuges, private - vs. public lands; licensed areas)
  3. Time of day
  4. Numbers to be taken
  5. In some areas, methods of hunting or trapping are precisely regulated. Methods include:
    1. Driving (or group of people forming a line and moving through an area)
    2. Still hunting (sitting or lying in wait)
    3. Specific required angles or borderline points to housing areas or refuges
    4. Hunting from tree or raised stands (including height)
    5. Initiating animal sounds (use of mechanical or electronic calls)
    6. Use of live animals as bait or attractions
    7. Use of decoys
    8. Camouflage clothing
    9. Use of blinds
    10. Use of bait (salt, etc.)
    11. Use of hunting dogs
    12. Use of lights or fire
    13. Use of vehicles
    14. Use of 2-way radios
    15. Use of nets
    16. Use of snares
    17. Use of firearms: type, size, shots
    18. Use of archery: type, pull, points, and use of drugs with arrows
    19. Use of slings or sling shots
    20. Use of spears
    21. Use of gas or poisons
    22. For fish - line(s)
    23. Use of baits - artificial, live, etc.
    24. Use of nets
    25. Use of drugs or explosives
    26. Use of electrical charges
    27. Use of electronic finding devices (fish)
    28. Required equipment (e.g., life vests, first aid, security jacket)
    29. Required reporting (into and out of areas)
  6. Types of hunters can be regulated by:
    1. Age
    2. Sex
    3. Place of residence
    4. Prior experience or success
    5. License purchase or type
    6. Passage of tests (safety, knowledge, etc.)
    7. Skill (marksmanship)
    8. Eyesight test results (corrected vision)
    9. Prior arrests or convictions
    10. Ethnic origin (e.g., native Americans)
    11. Possession of special permits (e.g., randomly drawn)
  7. Processing of take:
    1. Whether an animal(s) must be reported whole or in parts
    2. Speed
    3. Reporting
    4. Sale or marketing (fun or neat)
    5. Ban on waste
  8. Other stipulations such as frequency of checking traps and name tags for all traps
  9. Other conditions of the hunt such as required clothing, display of license, and prohibition of fire or cutting trees
  10. Camping condition and refuse
  11. Regulation of related activities such as taxidermy, meat storage, and guiding
  12. Regulation of scientific and educational activities (e.g., collecting permits)

The potential combinations of the above techniques (in addition to the length of the list) are impressive. Selecting an optimum mix can be very difficult. The results, optimum for one year, may change due to the rapidly changing nature of user needs and demands, the public attitude to laws and their enforcement, the habitat, and the wildlife populations themselves. Continual adjustment seems essential to avoid the status of outmoded.

Efficiency is a word relating to the cost in time or money of achieving a product or service. Effectiveness relates to achieving an objective efficiently. In systems work we work for effectiveness. Perhaps the effectiveness of equipment used may someday be evaluated but given the above difficulties in selecting among the millions of combinations of methods and strategies, the fuzzy set of objectives, and the uncertainty of who the violators are as a class, the selection of optimum equipment seems impossible.

A Last Resort Perhaps making available a checklist, a set of resources, and opportunities for their use can be the most feasible solution. The checklist, perhaps judged by some general set of criteria or comparative effectiveness in achieving some general but unspecified objectives, may be:


  1. Unmarked car
  2. Marked car
  3. Sirens on the vehicle
  4. Emergency lights on the vehicle
  5. 4-wheel drive vehicle
  6. All-terrain vehicle
  7. Motorcycle
  8. Recreational vehicle
  9. House trailer
  10. Air or fan driven boat
  11. Powered boat
  12. Row boat
  13. Canoe
  14. Snowmobile (any type)
  15. Skis
  16. Snowshoes
  17. Horse/horse drawn wagon
  18. Police-dog
  19. Telescope
  20. Camera (Polaroid,digital, or other)
  21. Hand-held TV camera
  22. Aerial photography
  23. Portable loud speaker
  24. Portable radio
  25. Car radio
  26. Tape recorder and player
  27. Computer terminal
  28. Micro computer
  29. First aid kits
  30. Compass
  31. Knife
  32. Axe
  33. Flashlight
  34. Spotlight
  35. Handcuffs
  36. Rope
  37. Anti-riot shield
  38. Pistol
  39. Rifle
  40. Objects and tools for capturing animals
  41. Drugs to immobilize animals
  42. Material for keeping animals in captivity
  43. Underwater surface diving articles
  44. Plastics or plaster for imprints
  45. Intrusion detector
  46. Telesonic radio
  47. Portable microscope
  48. Metallic detector
  49. X-rays
  50. Autopsy laboratory
  51. Freezers
  52. Coolers
  53. Interrogation room
  54. Wireless interphone
  55. Specialized library
  56. Manual or handbook
  57. Instruction and procedures book
  58. Code of ethics
  59. Permanent cabins or lodging for agents away from home

    Personal Equipment

  60. Uniforms or any distinctive garments
  61. Badges
  62. Identity card
  63. Highly visible vest or other similar gear during the hunting season
  64. Camouflage clothing provided by the agency
  65. A pistol provided by the agency
  66. Foul-weather clothing.

Information systems and data sets and statistics

  1. Complaints
  2. Inquiries
  3. Verifications (interceptions)
  4. Meetings and individual contacts
  5. Interrogations
  6. Inspections
  7. Frisking
  8. Search
  9. Seizure
  10. Warnings
  11. Arrests
  12. Convictions
  13. Fines
  14. Permit suspensions
  15. Imprisonment
  16. Sex
  17. Age
  18. Weight
  19. Employment status
  20. Resident or type
  21. Distance from home
  22. Alcohol involved
  23. Children involved
  24. Species involved
  25. Vehicle involved
  26. Violation code
  27. Location of violation (latitude, longitude, as well as local names)
  28. Day of violation
  29. Time of violation
  30. Nature of violation
  31. Violator's equipment involved in a violation
  32. Other people involved in a violation
  33. Methods and means used to apprehend the violators
  34. Court action on each case
  35. Agents involved
  36. Time required on each case.

The Agency and Its Size

The staff, facilities, and budget of the agency must influence its effectiveness. Just how does agency size determine how well it achieves objectives. What is optimum size? How many officers should there be? is a good question but it does not provide the decision bases. The quality of each officer is needed just as are the hours spent and the amount of time they spend doing other things (such as collecting research data or educating children). These are essential modifiers for the answer.

The questions may be:

  1. Full-time employees?
  2. Field agents?
  3. Administrative staff?
  4. Assistants?

Then the questions of part-time workers, deputies, and volunteers needs to be addressed. Eventually some model of systems performance or success (Q) as a function of staff is needed. This may emerge from regions within the same state or from multiple states in a reasonably similar region.

Members of minority or ethnic groups may be relevant to laws relating to employment as well as to work within such group.

Diverse existing law enforcement requires usually difficult comparisons. In some areas, fishing law enforcement is separated from that with game laws. In some areas, enforcement is included within the state police force, outside of the wildlife agency.

Processes of Law Enforcement on Regulated Areas

Pressures are likely to emerge to create private hunting and angling areas. The public areas will remain, but these cannot sustain the levels of hunting or hunting quality from a population that is going to be less mobile due to gasoline shortages, a population at greater risk due to hunting accidents, a population wanting higher quality hunts, and a population forced out of old hunting sites on private-land. The needs will be for new licensing, regulating such places, and supervising people who use them.

The total area of involvement (size of the state or province) may be instructive but probably is only a variable of low significance as managers pursue information that may suggest agency improvements or at least measures of effectiveness.

Water area is relevant but confounded by differences in stream size and length, lake size and shoreline length, and attitudes towards different types of fish and angling. Commercial fishing confounds further; it needs to be separated. Shoreline length may relate well to stream length when analyzing anglers to be studied for fishing violations. Saltwater shore line creates another category for analyses.

"Area" needs to be refined to include areas in parks and reserves and their influence on enforcement on system performance. This can be done by separating areas in water, cities, and military bases. Length of roads (by type) can influence performance scores, especially if a zone of influence is included with the length.

Inputs: The Number of People and their Tendencies

Total human population suggests maximum potential poachers. As discussed early in this chapter, annual apprehensions compared to the potential number may improve performance measures.

Annual records of people "acted upon" by the enforcement group needs to be studied. At least the following categories need to be studied because they are measurable and potentially related to objectives:

It is vitally important to see trends so that enforcement programs are not created or increased at the same time that trends in the population suggest that the problem will almost disappear due to changes in the numbers or structure of the human population.

Laws and Regulations

There are general analyses of and comparisons to be made of state laws but we find such efforts of limited usefulness. We can imagine a general, statewide opening date of a hunting season for a species may be related to the latitude of a state. There may be other such relations. Species-specific analyses may give insight into how to improve conditions. Laws and regulations are now usually set with a complex interaction of users, wildlife analysts, and questions seen are those about:

The actual starting date as well as closing dates are significant and can relate to benefits received by users from the experience as well as ease of enforcement.

Violations are bad, by definition. Having extra fish in the creel, however, does not seem as bad as killing a bald eagle, an endangered species, or a Satpuda tiger. Both are violations, however. There is a continuum of importance of obeying the law or conversely (but not equally) of the badness of disobeying the law. We believe weights can be assigned to the importance of obeying categories of law. (Some laws are poorly written etc., but they have a generally understood intent. The gross intent is what can be and should be evaluated.) A comparison of weights assigned by agents, by the general public, and by resource users (trappers, anglers, hunters) has been conducted (Bullard 1993).

The following violation categories need to be weighted selecting the most important first, assigning it a weight of 100, then comparing all others in relation to this most important law or regulation type.

In practice, agents must take action for each specific violation. The agency's position from a philosophical point of view is needed for the relative seriousness of each violations, perhaps in terms of negative impact on an agency's objectives and orientation.

  1. Inadequate license, or permit?
  2. Hunting, fishing and trapping animals out of season?
  3. Hunting, fishing and trapping animals in an unauthorized location?
  4. Illegal taking, possession, or imperiling of non-game or endangered species?
  5. Taking or possession in excess of the allowable quota?
  6. Taking unspecified game or fish?
  7. Illegal hunting, fishing or trapping methods?
  8. Illegal means, weapons, apparatus or munitions?
  9. Unsafe methods or behavior?
  10. Destruction of wildlife habitat?
  11. Bad treatment of animals in captivity?
  12. Offers of sale, or selling of unauthorized species?
  13. Illegal importation or exportation of protected species?
  14. Unauthorized trespass or use of certain Designated areas?
  15. Hindrance to the work of a wildlife conservation officer?

Agency Support Services and Structures for the Agent

Analyses are needed of the following support services. An agency having well-selected additional resources other than the regular staff must surely be more effective than other agencies. Can costs per increment of improvement be afforded? is a key question. Examples of support services needing evaluation among states or regions are:

  1. An expert's report on species identification based on parts of the anatomy, through biochemistry or other methods.
  2. Forensic advice to identify cause of death.
  3. Ballistic evaluation.
  4. Illustrator artist or graphist.
  5. Specialized photographer.
  6. A telephone line for the purpose of receiving information from paid or unpaid informers.
  7. Listed telephone numbers allowing the general public to express complaints.
  8. A recording system for any complaint or information received.
  9. A system for immediate transmission of complaints and information to the agent responsible for their verification.
  10. A radio-telephone communication system.
  11. A central information bank on suspected or convicted violators.
  12. A central information bank on relevant vehicle identification.
  13. A storage and inventory system for seized goods.
  14. A procedure and specific instructions on the outcome, on the chain of possession and, possibly on the destruction of the confiscated materials and specimens.
  15. A system of cash rewards for informers.

Agent Benefits

Insurance carried can influence agent performance, recruitment, and retention. There are very high costs of hiring and educating agents. To allow them to move away or retire without careful attention to replacement training and harvesting their knowledge can be a great loss to an agency, agents, and the people. Costs or recruiting and retaining agents needs to be well documented. Questions are needed about insurance coverage for all staff such as for:

  1. False arrests
  2. Accidents and woundings
  3. Life insurance
  4. Civil liability
  5. Damage resulting from high-speed chases
  6. Medical insurance.

Compulsory retirement age, age of first hiring, pensions and related issues influence performance.


Feedback is not simply monitoring but monitoring plus (a) making comparisons with a standard (objectives) and then (b) making adjustments in the system (the minimum amount since all costs must be included)) so that the objectives are better met. Feedback is exercised on all parts of the system, including itself.

1. Objectives
Appoint a 3-person committee to check written objectives every 3 years to be sure they are precise, well formulated, and operating properly in the system.

2. Reports
Devise means to display for agents and the public the scores achieved by agents and the agency.

3. Ombudsman
Employ an inspector or general observer with a primary role of positive improvements, suggestions, and transfer of knowledge for improvements within the agency. This is a means for fine tuning the agency.

Every piece of data needs to be used. Adjustments are needed to assure all resources are effectively used. Rentals of equipment are to be encouraged in some cases, purchases in others, to assure cost effectiveness.

5. Processes
Revisions and testing of all processes within the system including transportation, communication, selection, etc. This includes over (or under) use of computers.

6. Feedback
Checking itself, the feedback system asks and adjusts whether all of the feedback mechanisms are working well and cost effectively.

7. Feedforward
Healthful skepticism about feedforward (see the next section) should prevail and comparisons should be made between projections and actual occurrence and the methods then adjusted to improve on the estimates about the future. Study of other future research should allow advances elsewhere to be made in the feedforward activities of the wildlife law enforcement policy.

8. Context
Law enforcement in a state, province, or region is often influenced by presence of federal agents, by international laws and policies, and by national transportation and energy policy. Laws in adjacent states influence within-state violations. The agency needs to analyze continually the influence of outside factors and to decide on the limits of operation and active involvement (e.g., in influencing waterfowl laws or customs regulations on furs).


The feedforward component of the general system is a special combination of input and process. It is a means for attempting to see the near future and to adjust the present system in relation to it. For example, if a human population in a region was changing drastically (average age increasing and urbanizing), then planning to increase the number of field-oriented agents would seem impractical. The feedforward function would adjust the present system (at least its agent acquisition and planning processes) to meet the needs of this projected environment.

As the manager becomes more effective in gaining obedience to the law, enforcement efforts can shift and resources be re-allocated. "Presence" must be displayed continuously, but probably less frequently and with greater conspicuousness than before the law enforcement system was created.

Program plans need to be ready for sharp changes in local employment and for new access. Efforts are needed in group sessions to predict the future hunting population as a function of age, education, and economic status. In some areas, action is needed now to assure that animals can be removed legally to protect the forest from animals (Chapter 11) when conventional hunting pressures decrease.

  1. Auto-regression and logistic regression to deal with the non-linear nature of so much of the law enforcement data should be used in many statistical analyses.
  2. Regional workshops for agents should be held and their estimates and visions of the near future (say 25 years) should be documented separately, then compiled and made available to all agents and key ministry personnel.
  3. Adjustments by agency leaders which are made based on concepts of the future should be made to help explain decisions, to help communicate, and to reduce frustrations about decisions which appear wrong or suboptimal for the short run.
  4. At least two major feedforward activities should be undertaken each year, evaluated for effectiveness, and an optimal set of techniques or approaches progressively selected for the agency.

Activities for the future might include ideas like:

  1. Agencies conducting special objective-oriented tours for politicians and officers of the courts.
  2. An organization for violators desiring to "shake the habit" or find a legal alternative.
  3. An organization that provides thrills equivalent to poaching, perhaps a robust outdoor game.
  4. Techniques for blocking markets for game and fish (or evaluating the history of such laws and their current relevance and need).
  5. TV changing the hero image of the poacher and illegal products buyer.
  6. Active work on regional unemployment where unemployment is recognized as a chief cause of poaching. (The criterion for the agency investment is change per dollar or unit of time, not whether well accepted tactics are used.)
  7. Electronic locators for hunters, agents, and other area users.
  8. Rewards (e.g., a decreasing license fee) for violation-free years of hunting and fishing.
  9. Creation of a hunter test and classification, one requiring knowledge of the wildlife laws.
  10. Violators appointed to citizen advisory committees and citizen involvement expanded in protection work. Regional conferences held for these groups to improve operations, and to gain a variety of citizen support.
  11. Improved communication to hunters like fire-danger ratings for a day in a western forest. Newspapers might carry with "the day's weather" a simple message of "X season is open" or "X season is closed" announcement.
  12. A portion of all fines devoted to wildlife law enforcement research.
  13. There might be created in agencies, at least regions, education, liaison, a newsletter, and a study of creating a special court to expedite and assure adequate disincentives for crimes. Courts are variable in treating convicted people. Courts may increasingly require convicted people to do constructive wildlife-related work.

Concluding Thoughts

There are troublesome but exciting times ahead. The old ways may have been adequate, but there are new realities of less money, less fossil energy for patrolling, more drug-case involvement, less respect for the law - but also fewer violators. The reasons for violating are probably changing. The dangers to agents are probably increasing. There are new pressures for accountability for measurable performance indexes. There are abundant solutions that can be conveniently packaged and effectively integrated in a systems approach.

The conscious design and development of a system can build loyalties and focus preciously scarce resources of time and energy on agreed upon objectives. Increased effectiveness that includes measures of both achieving stated objectives and minimizing costs can result. The other improvements in communicating within the agency, in experiencing synergistic efficiencies, in reducing duplication, and in being involved in a continually challenging and creative environment cannot be ignored. Support for those so designed and encouragement of people attempting to redesign wildlife law enforcement agencies as systems may not be a bad idea.


As we try to comprehend and think through all of the previous, often interrelated ideas, and begin to formulate advice for the private land owner or the village leader, we arrive, perhaps too simplistically at:
  1. Reducing the number and complexity of laws and regulations.
  2. Providing education and training to prevent inadvertent violation of laws.
  3. Marking areas clearly to encourage hunting in appropriate areas.
  4. Where feasible, encouraging a buddy system among hunters, both to increase safety and reduce violations.
  5. Maintain easy access and ease of communicating observed violations to agents and the landowner.
  6. Encourage appropriate patrols by assisting police, state and county agents, and deputized individuals.
  7. Reporting crimes, their consequences, and people convicted.
  8. Working with the courts and citizen boards to assure appropriate, consistent, and just fines and punishment. (Many law enforcement systems are highly efficient but falter in the last stage when, after conviction, sentences are light or suspended. Bullard (in a Virginia Tech MS Thesis) has developed a scaling procedure for the "badness" of a wildlife crime. Work with assigning the weights of objectives themselves by officers of the courts may be attempted).
  9. Making an annual record of success -- perhaps showing an increase in some reported score -- should be published annually. Costs of the system should be approximated so that cost per unit of change in S can be estimated and reported.
  10. Watching trends in local populations. If crimes are committed by one age group and that age group doubles in a few years, it may be that the law enforcement, good and improving, may not be able to "keep up" with the work load resulting from the shift in the human population. Monitoring people and crimes is needed to be sure that proper allocations are made to increase (or decrease) investments in a wildlife law enforcement subsystem.
  11. Continue land posting and supplying rules with permits. Hunters and other area users are required to have safety briefing and to have other certification and memberships.
  12. We have to work at preventing violations making the act or the result pointless, distasteful, or dangerous and otherwise non-beneficial, balanced with apprehending violators and making that total post-apprehension experience very unpleasant and costly and then well communicated as a threat or cost of similar violation.

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .


Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July 3, 2005