Wildlife officers investigate poaching of eight deer and elk found in San Miguel County – The Journal

A bull spike that was found shot and left loose on November 17 has been filmed in the Callan Draw area southwest of Norwood. (Courtesy of Tony Buonaquista, Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking public assistance in the investigation

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is investigating eight suspected poaching incidents with Game Management Unit 70 in San Miguel County.

Suspected poaching of three male deer found in Dry Creek Dock. Two bull elk were discovered in the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area south of Norwood, and another bull and two elk were shot and left for waste in the Callan Draw area southwest of Norwood.

All of the incidents occurred between October 30 and November 15.

“All of these animals were found shot and left to be lost. This is a flagrant violation of Colorado’s hunting and fishing laws, which require hunters to prepare bushmeat for human consumption,” said Rachel Seralla, CPW District Wildlife Director.

CPW has released details of every suspected poaching case under investigation.

On October 30, a young buck was shot and left in the higher elevations of Dry Creek Dock.

While the CPW officers were investigating this animal, other hunters stopped the officers and reported another small bird that had been shot and left less than a mile away. The animals were within walking distance of the road and were mortally wounded on the spot.

There is no clear reason why an ethical hunter has not properly recovered, tagged and harvested these deer, said Mark Cady, CPW District Wildlife Director.

On November 6, hunters reported that another buck mule deer had been shot and abandoned in Dry Creek Dock on the last day of the second rifle season. Officers investigated the body and determined that the wound was instantly fatal and that the deer was likely shot the same day. Deer were within walking distance of the road.

A bull that was shot and left to waste is pictured November 6 at the Dan Noble Wildlife Area. (Courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

On November 6, CPW District Wildlife Director Tony Bonacquista received a call from hunters reporting that two elk had been shot and left in the Dan Noble State Wildlife Refuge about 14 miles southwest of Norwood.

Upon investigating the bulls, the CPW officers determined that these were legal bulls based on antler point restrictions, and the wounds were instantly fatal. These animals were about 400 yards from a main road in open country. Cady said there is no apparent reason why an ethical hunter could not recover these animals.

On 17 November, hunters in the field reported that a large bull elk was shot and abandoned in the Callan Draw area southwest of Norwood. After investigation, it was found that in addition to the bull spike, two elk had been killed.

While it appears that the parties associated with this incident initially attempted to recover the elk cow as required by law, they later gave up the carcasses and some of the equipment used in the recovery attempt. It was determined that these elk were most likely killed on 15 or 16 November.

Evidence has been collected in each of these incidents that is being used to further the investigation, the Environmental Protection Network said in the press release.

“The initial information on each animal in these cases came from hunters in the field who took the time to call and report that something was going on,” Cady said. “These moral hunters are as interested in this happening as we are.”

CPW is asking the public for help in solving these crimes. If you are in the areas shown and have any information regarding these incidents, contact Caddy at 970-209-2368 or Bonacquista at 970-209-2374.

To provide anonymous information, the public may contact Operation Game Thief by phone at 877-265-8648 or by email at game.thief@state.co.us.

Operation Game Thief is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife program that pays out rewards to citizens who turn out to be poachers. The Citizens Committee manages the bonus money in many cases of poaching, which is administered through private contributions. The Board of Directors may approve bonuses of up to $1,000 for flagrant cases.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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