Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons responsible for killing a cow moose and her two calves in an empty lot within Mountain Shadows Estates, a subdivision located on County Road 6421 between Granby and Grand Lake.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., a witness hunting near the subdivision reported to wildlife officials that he heard several shots fired in rapid succession. Upon investigating, the witness says he found the cow and a calf dead, the other calf dying, and that no one immediately approached the carcasses to claim responsibility.
“This is an outrageous incident,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “My officers are preparing an all-out effort to find the person or persons responsible and bring them to justice.”
Anyone with information can call Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Hot Sulphur Springs at 970-725-6200, or Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648 if they wish to remain anonymous. OGT is offering a $2500 reward for information that leads to the suspect. Officials from Safari Club International have offered to match this amount, bringing the current reward to $5000.
Wildlife officials remind the public that even a seemingly insignificant detail may be the missing piece in a larger puzzle and urge anyone with information to provide it as soon as possible.
“So far, we have a description of a suspicious vehicle, and our investigation turned up important evidence at the scene,” said Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener. “With the public’s continued help, we are confident that we can find who did this.”
In recent years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has conducted extensive public outreach to ensure that hunters properly indentify moose while hunting elk. However, wildlife officials do not believe this incident was a misidentification of an animal by a legitimate hunter.
“At this point, we have no reason to believe this was an accident,” continued Velarde. “The case is being investigated as a malicious, poaching incident.”
Individuals who illegally kill a big game animal and abandon the carcass face a permanent loss of their hunting and fishing privileges, significant fines, felony charges and a possible prison sentence.
“The responsible party still has time to do the right thing and turn themselves in,” continued Sidener. “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.”
Poaching continues to be a concern for wildlife officials. The public is reminded that poachers are criminals who take away opportunity from legal and responsible hunters, and steal wildlife from the citizens of the state.
Anyone who sees suspicious wildlife activity should contact a local District Wildlife Manager, or Operation Game Thief toll-free at 877-COLO-OGT (877-265-6648). Callers contacting the tip line remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward if the information leads to a citation.
For more information, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/RulesRegs/LawEnforcement/OperationGameThief/Pages/OGT.aspx
Image courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife