By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof
Wildlife officials are offering an $8,000 reward for information concerning the poaching of a trophy buck, and asking for information about the poaching death of four doe deer.
A total of five animals have been poached in the last six weeks, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources. Last week, a 7 by 13 trophy buck and a doe deer were killed by poachers in Iron County, in the Shurtz Canyon area. During October’s rifle hunt, three does were poached about 30 yards from the road and left in San Juan County, according to DWR.
“The illegal killing and subsequent waste of wildlife is extremely frustrating for wildlife officials,” DWR wrote. “It is a theft from hunters and from those who love to watch wildlife. Deer are currently in the rut (mating season) and are very susceptible to harassment.”
The buck had attracted the attention of locals with its size — scoring 239 inches — and was last seen alive the evening of Nov. 22. After several days without a sighting, citizens noticed ravens and eagles circling a nearby area. The locals hiked to the area on Nov. 30, when they discovered the buck had been killed and left, DWR said.
When wildlife officials went to the area to recover the buck’s body, they also found a poached doe.
Of the does in San Juan County, one was killed near Brown’s Canyon, a second was found near Camp Jackson and the third was killed on Long Canyon, DWR said. The first two were killed on Oct. 19 while the last was killed the final weekend of the rifle hunt.
Additionally, DWR said a cow and calf elk were shot and left to waste on Oct. 6 near Sago Flat on Elk Ridge.
DWR officials are asking citizens to watch for suspicious hunting behavior, to gather information about the individual and the incident and report it to the poaching hotline at 1-800-662-3337. The division reminds individuals not to confront any individual suspected of poaching.
Officials are also offering a reward of $8,000 for information leading to the conviction of individuals responsible for killing the buck deer in Iron County.