Parks and Wildlife looking for 2 suspects in high-quality bull elk poaching in coveted Moffat County hunting area
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are looking for information related to two individuals suspected of illegally killing a bull elk last week in northwest Moffat County.
According to a news release Tuesday, a witness contacted a Parks and Wildlife officer Sept. 25 to report a wounded bull elk spotted east of the intersection of Moffat County Roads 67 and 68, on the northern end of Sand Wash Basin. The witness indicated they saw two men in a pickup truck near the wounded bull. The truck was described as a gray, early-1990s Ford half-ton with an extended cab and large mud flaps. The truck was possibly missing its tailgate, according to the witness.
The officer then discovered the elk’s gut pile Sept. 26 in the same area, according to the release. An investigation at the scene revealed “substantial evidence” that will help determine the responsible party, according to Parks and Wildlife.
“Whoever commits any wildlife crime has the opportunity to do the right thing and turn themselves in immediately, and we will take that into account when determining charges,” said Jeffrey Goncalves, the Parks and Wildlife officer who responded to the scene, in the news release.
Goncalves said penalties in such a case could include prison, the loss of hunting and fishing privileges in 48 states and several thousand dollars in fines.
Based on the witness’ description of the elk, it was estimated to be a 300-inch class, 6×6 bull, according to Goncalves. A fine for poaching such an animal could include a $10,000 “trophy penalty,” in addition to standard penalties.
The bull elk was suspected of being killed in Game Management Unit 2, which is a limited, high-quality hunting unit located in Moffat County. Hunters could wait up to 25 years or longer to gather enough points to draw a bull elk license in the unit, according to the release. The area is considered one of Colorado’s most coveted.
“This takes what is essentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity away from legal, ethical hunters,” Goncalves said. “It’s infuriating and very unfair to ethical hunters, and that is one of the primary reasons CPW officers work so hard to bring violators to justice.”
Anyone providing useful information and willing to testify in this case may qualify to receive a prized bull elk license in Game Management Unit 2 through Parks and Wildlife’s Turn In Poachers program. People are also able to remain anonymous by utilizing the Operation Game Thief program.
Rewards are available if the information leads to an arrest or citation.
To provide information about this case, call 877-265-6648. Verizon cell phone users can dial #OGT, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers must specify the type of reward they are interested in.
“We encourage anyone that may know something to let us know as soon as they can,” said Goncalves. “Even if it may seem like a minor detail, little bits of information like that is often the missing piece that we need to solve a case and bring a poacher to justice.”
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