Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating the poaching of six bull elk in an area north of Park City, according to an article in KSL.com.
Each of the six elk was found with a .22 caliber rifle wound, “a small-caliber which would have led to a slow, painful death for these animals,” according to John Nowoslawski, a Silver Creek resident who is part of a group offering a reward for information, as is the DWR.
The DWR issued a press release indicating the elk died sometime between December 20, 2019 and January 15, 2020 – outside the hunting season which ends in November.
No meat or antlers were missing from the animals. The DWR subsequently removed the antlers and will process the meat.
Several of the poached elk had at least six prongs, which make the bulls “trophy elk.” The fine for poaching of trophy elk constitutes $18,000 in restitution per bull and $750 for smaller bulls, said the KSL.com article.
The DWR is seeking the public’s help in catching the poachers. Through their reward system, a monetary reward or hunting tags will be eligible to someone who provides information that can lead to the prosecution of the poachers.
Safari Club International has long been involved in working on anti-poaching efforts, both internationally and domestically. Anyone with information on this incident is urged to call the Utah DWR hotline at 1-800-662-3337.