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RBC I Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigators are asking the public for help in finding the person or persons responsible for killing and abandoning three mature, high-quality bull elk near the town of Dinosaur recently.
According to CPW investigators, the intact carcasses of two elk were discovered the morning of Nov. 6, approximately 100 yards north of Highway 40 near milepost 17. They were found lying 150 yards apart and each bull appears to have been killed before sunrise by a single shot from a high-powered rifle.
In addition, officers say the carcass of a third bull elk was found the morning of Nov. 12 on the south side of Highway 40 near milepost 6, near the Dinosaur National Monument Visitor’s Center. The bull is thought to have been killed sometime between the evening of Nov. 11 and the morning of Nov. 12. The animal had a single bullet wound and only the antlers had been removed from the carcass.
It is unknown if both incidents are related.
“We are conducting a thorough investigation using every means at our disposal to find whoever did this,” said District Wildlife Manager Nate Martinez of Rangely. “The bulls were all found in Game Management Unit 10. Bull elk were not even in season here at the time they were killed.”
The two bulls found on Nov. 6 were discovered quickly enough for the meat to be donated to three local families. The meat from the third bull could not be salvaged due to decomposition.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages GMU 10 to be a high-quality hunting area, featuring some of the largest bull elk in the state.
“At least 18 preference points are required to draw a licenses in GMU 10,” Martinez said. “The person who did this took opportunities away from ethical hunters who wait many years for a chance to hunt in this unit.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds the public that killing a big game animal then abandoning it or only removing trophy parts can yield felony charges, extensive fines, a prison sentence and the permanent loss of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 43 Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact states.
To provide information about these incidents, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Meeker office at 970-878-6090. To remain anonymous, call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available if the information leads to a citation.
“Even the smallest clue can help solve a case, so we are asking the public to let us know if they saw or heard anything suspicious, even if it seems insignificant,” Martinez said. “The people who did this illegally took these animals from the citizens of Colorado. Everyone has a stake in bringing them to justice.”
For more information about Operation Game Thief, go to www.cpw.state.co.us/ aboutus/Pages/OGT.aspx