“The responsible party still has time to do the right thing and turn themselves in. But if they continue to evade authorities we will do what we can to make sure they face the full consequences of this egregious act.”
— Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, about an investigation into the poaching deaths of a cow moose and her two calves.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are investigating the shooting deaths of three moose killed earlier this week near Granby.
The incident took place between 8 and 10 a.m. Wednesday in an empty lot at Shadow Mountain Estates, a subdivision located on Grand County Road 6421 between Granby and Grand Lake, according to a Parks and Wildlife news release.
A witness reported to wildlife officials that he heard, while hunting near the subdivision, several shots fired in rapid succession.
Upon further investigation, the witness reported he found a cow moose and a calf dead, with a second calf dying.
No one approached to claim responsibility, the release states.
“This is an outrageous incident,” said Ron Velarde, northwest regional manager, in the release. “My officers are preparing an all out effort to find the person or persons responsible and bring them to justice.”
Operation Game Thief, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s anti-poaching hotline, is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to a suspect. Safari Club International officials have pledged to match the reward, bringing the total to $5,000.
Residents with information may call the Parks and Wildlife Hot Sulphur Springs office at 970-725-6200, or Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648 if callers would prefer to remain anonymous.
Wildlife officials encourage the public to call no matter how insignificant their information may seem.
“So far we have a description of a suspicious vehicle and our investigation turned up important evidence at the scene,” said Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager, in the release. “With the public’s continued help we are confident we can find who did this.”
In recent years Colorado Parks and Wildlife has conducted extensive public outreach campaigns to ensure hunters properly identify moose when hunting elk.
But wildlife officials do not believe this incident was an accident, the release states.
“At this point we have no reason to believe this was an accident,” Velarde said in the release. “The case is being investigated as a malicious, poaching incident.”
Individuals who illegally kill big game and abandon the carcass face a permanent loss of their hunting and fishing privileges, significant fines, felony charges, and a possible prison sentence, the release states.
Poachers are criminals who take away opportunity from legal and responsible hunters, and steal wildlife from the citizens of the state, according to the release.
“The responsible party still has time to do the right thing and turn themselves in,” said Sidener in the release. “But if they continue to evade authorities we will do what we can to make sure they face the full consequences of this egregious act.”
Mike Porras, public information officer for the Parks and Wildlife’s northwest region, said many of these investigations are solved, but it requires significant participation from the public.
Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.