Colorado Parks and Wildlife is announcing that the Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering $5,000 per case for information leading to a conviction in two suspected poaching incidents involving a sow bear and a bull elk in the Roaring Fork Valley in late September.
The donation will add to the reward offered by Operation Game Thief for tips that lead to a conviction in either case. OGT is Colorado’s wildlife violation hotline and can be reached at 877-265-6648.
“We appreciate the additional money and hope it generates some leads for us,” said Perry Will, Area Wildlife Manager in Glenwood Springs. “We can use all the help we can get to find out what happened in each case and bring the violators to justice.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are continuing their investigation into the killing of a female bear discovered along the Babbish Gulch Trail near Sunlight Ski Resort, Friday, Sept. 26. Officers determined that the bear died from a gunshot. The bear’s cub, found lingering near the carcass, was successfully captured and released by wildlife officers.
In a separate incident, officers are looking for the person responsible for the killing of a 5×5 bull elk found in the Owl Creek area between Aspen and Snowmass Village on Sept. 24. Officers say the animal had been shot with a .22 caliber rifle or pistol. The injured animal survived for several days before arriving at Owl Creek where it expired.
In Colorado, elk must be taken with a .24 caliber or larger bullet during a rifle season or a .50 caliber or larger bullet during muzzleloader season. However, the only legal method of take for elk at the time the bull was shot was with archery equipment. The use of any firearm would have been illegal.
Neither incident was reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and both animal carcasses were illegally abandoned. In Colorado, killing a big game animal and leaving the meat to waste is a serious offense. Killing a sow with a cub is also illegal.
“Even a minor detail may be the information we need to find the people who did this,” said Will. “We also ask that the people responsible in these cases do the right thing and come forward to tell us what happened.”
Will says that the pursuit of poachers is a major part of CPW’s law enforcement efforts. He added that poachers are criminals that steal wildlife from the public and take opportunity away from ethical hunters.
For more information about Operation Game Thief, visit www.cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/