Wildlife Violator Compact

The Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement among participating states that helps prevent poaching, and uses a central database to track and record wildlife violations.
How does it work? If a poacher is convicted of a wildlife violation and his or her hunting, fishing and trapping privileges are taken away in that state, then his/her privileges would also be revoked in all Wildlife Violator Compact participating states.

The Compact also is set up so a violator in a Compact state would be treated as a resident if that violator makes an offense in a participating compact state. For example, if a California resident is caught fishing without a license in Nevada, he/she would face the same consequence of that action as a Nevada resident would. If the poacher fails to comply with those consequence, the home state (in this case, California) is notified and may suspend the poachers hunting, fishing and trapping privilege until the terms of the citation are met.


The concept of a wildlife violator compact was first advanced in the early 1980s by member states in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Law enforcement administrators and Wildlife Commissioners from several states began discussing the idea of a compact based on the format of the existing Drivers License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact, both of these related to motor vehicle operator licensing and enforcement.

In 1985 draft compacts were developed independently in Colorado and Nevada. Subsequently, these drafts were merged and the Wildlife Violator Compact (WVC). During the 1989 Legislative session compact legislation was passed into law in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. These three states formed the nucleus of the Compact.

Compact Benefits

For the Consumer

  • Delays, and/or the inconvenience involved with the process of a violation are comparable for residents and non-residents of participating states.
  • Personal recognizance is permitted in many cases involving wildlife violations.
  • Certain violations and circumstances still require an immediate appearance or bonding.

For the Agency

  • Wildlife law enforcement officers are able to devote more time to patrol, surveillance and apprehension of violators since they are not burdened with violator processing procedures.
  • The burden on courts and jail facilities is reduced because of the decreased case load involving immediate appearances, bonding and incarceration.
  • Public relations are improved by not having to subject as many violators to the inconveniences of immediate appearance, bonding, or incarceration.
  • The number of "Failure to Appear" cases is reduced because non-residents cannot ignore a citation from the participating states without facing suspension of their wildlife license privileges in their home states.
  • Wildlife law violators are put on notice that their activities in one state can affect their privilege to recreate in all participating states.