CHINO VALLEY - State wildlife officials are seeking information regarding the June 28 poaching of a pregnant mule deer near Chino Valley.
The Operation Game Thief program is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of those responsible for the crime.
Authorities believe the doe was killed east of Chino Valley behind a subdivision Sunday night. The next day, Arizona Game and Fish Department received a report of a dead doe near Muldoon Tank off Forest Service Road 638 north of Haystack Ranch.
When wildlife officers responded Tuesday, they found the deer's carcass, stripped of the desirable meat. Two full-term fawns, due within days, were also at the gut pile.
"The residents of Arizona lost three deer with this one criminal act," said Zen Mocarski, information and education program manager for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. "The fawns were simply discarded as the poacher or poachers were field dressing the doe."
He said officers collected evidence at the scene, but they need additional help from the public.
"Maybe someone saw something and didn't think too much about it," Mocarski said. "Or, maybe someone overheard someone talking about it or saw something on social media. The department needs this information to try and bring those responsible to justice."
If found, those responsible may face criminal charges, including take of big game wildlife during a closed season and waste of game meat. After the case is adjudicated, those responsible also face a potential civil assessment by the Game and Fish Commission and possible license revocation.
"This is not the act of a hunter," Mocarski stated. "Poaching is a crime. True hunters are conservationists and would never show such disrespect for modern wildlife conservation."
Anyone with information regarding this case, or any wildlife violation, should call the hotline at 800-352-0700. Web submissions can be reported by visiting www.azgfd.gov/thief. Identities will remain confidential. Anyone calling should reference case number 15-001965.