Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are asking the public for information about a bull moose found dead and abandoned in the vicinity of Moeller Creek, near County Road 115, east of Meeker, Oct. 23.
CPW officers learned about the moose after a hunter called Operation Game Thief to report finding the carcass. Based on evidence found at the scene, the moose died from a gunshot wound during the beginning of the second rifle season, Oct. 21 or 22. At the time, only elk and deer were in season in the area.
The animal was intact when discovered, including its 42-inch rack; however, CPW officers could not salvage the meat due to the amount of time elapsed.
“This was a very nice bull and it’s a shame all that meat was wasted,” said District Wildlife Manager Ross McGee of Meeker. “We know accidents can occur during a hunt and we take prompt self reporting into account in cases like this. The responsible party still has time to do the right thing and contact us right away to let us know what happened. But if we have to continue tracking the person or persons down, they can expect to face the full brunt of the law.”
In Colorado, charges of willful destruction of big game and abandoning the animal can bring felony charge and can result in significant penalties, depending on circumstances. For moose, fines can be more than $30,000, up to a year in jail and a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 44 additional members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
McGee says the public’s help solves many wildlife crimes, stressing even the most minor detail could be the information needed to bring a poacher to justice.
“We appreciate the call from the person who did the right thing by letting us know about the moose,” he said. “If anyone else thinks they saw something or heard something, please let us know. Even if it is a minor detail, it could be the missing bit of information that leads us to the person responsible.”
Anyone with information can contact DWM Ross McGee at 970-942-7055, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To provide information about a wildlife violation anonymously, the public can contact Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648, by dialing #OGT from a Verizon phone, or by email at email@example.com. Rewards are available if the information leads to an arrest or citation.
Visit the CPW website for more information about Operation Game Thief.