2012 was a bad year for poachers in Minnesota, and a New Ulm conservation officer was part of the reason. The Department of Natural Resources says a surge in calls to its Turn In Poachers hotline last year led to a significant increase in poaching arrests, and 32-year DNR employee Greg Abraham of New Ulm was named the Turn In Poachers Conservation Officer of the Year. TIP calls referred to conservation officers jumped 54% in 2012 to a record 2,051, compared with just-over 1,300 in 2011. The previous record was more than 1,800 calls in 1981 when the hotline was founded. Last year’s calls led to 359 arrests, mostly related to deer, fish and waterfowl violations. Arrests were up 29% from 2011. The record high was 428 arrests in 1991. Since 1981 the DNR has paid out nearly $358,000 in rewards for calls that led to arrests of poachers.