CPW believes unique antlers were target for culprits who killed bull elk near Dinosaur
Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigators are looking for two individuals who may be involved in the illegal killing of a bull elk within Dinosaur town limits last week, according to a press release from the agency.
Investigators believe the bull — described as “docile” by residents of the small, northwestern Colorado community — was shot through the abdomen on Nov. 6 before it wandered onto a local ranch and died. Investigators found the animal’s headless carcass two days later.
CPW investigators have descriptions of two vehicles believed to be involved in the incident; a white 1980s model Chevrolet pickup with Utah plates and a newer silver Chevrolet pickup with its plate obscured by mud.
In addition, CPW received information that two individuals were seen in the morning at the spot where the elk died, a few hours before authorities discovered the animal. One of the suspects may have been wearing a hoodie with a camouflage pattern.
“We’ve got good vehicle descriptions and extensive evidence recovered from the scene so I don’t think it will be long before we find the people responsible, one way or another,” said CPW Officer Garrett Smith of Rangely. “Individuals that commit wildlife crimes like this face very stiff penalties if we have to track them down. Self-reporting is always the better option, and there is still time to do the right thing in this case.”
Smith said in addition to CPW investigators, local town authorities and Moffat County Sheriff’s Office deputies are also involved in the search for the culprits.
“It appears that the only thing these individuals wanted was the elk’s antlers, which were unusual and distinct,” he said. “This was a 6 by 5 bull elk, so it is considered a high-quality animal, and they left the meat to waste, meat that could have fed a family for up to a year.”
Smith says there is a significant interest in finding the suspects due to the familiarity locals had with the poached elk.
“This occurred in Game Management Unit 10, considered a high-quality hunting unit,” said Smith. “It may take a hunter up to 20 years or more to be eligible to draw a license in the unit so it’s especially egregious. We will do everything we can to bring these people to justice.”
CPW encourages the public to help solve wildlife crimes and earn rewards. Under Colorado’s Turn In Poachers program, information that leads to an arrest or citation can earn hunters preference points, or in some cases, the reward of a license in the same unit where the crime occurred. The program is in addition to Operation Game Thief, a tip line where information about wildlife crimes can be reported anonymously with a monetary reward available if the information leads to an arrest or citation.
Anyone with information should call 877-265-6648. Callers should specify if they prefer the TIP program or OGT.