HomeOutdoorsNewsColorado Officials Investigating String of Poaching Incidents That Left 8 Deer, Elk to Waste

Colorado Officials Investigating String of Poaching Incidents That Left 8 Deer, Elk to Waste

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Marcia Straub/Getty Images)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is investigating a string of suspected poaching incidents. Officials found eight animals allegedly killed and left to rot. There are eight cases that CPW is looking into. Three cases of mule deer bucks killed in Dry Creek Basin. Another of two bull elk at the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area. An additional bull elk and two cow elk were killed in the Callan Draw area. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, all eight incidents occurred between Oct. 30 and Nov. 15.

“All of these animals were found shot and left to waste,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Rachel Sralla. “This is an egregious violation of Colorado’s laws surrounding hunting and fishing, which require hunters to prepare game meat for human consumption.”

“In any activity that people enjoy, most of the time things go well and the participants behave in the appropriate legal, moral and ethical manner,” said CPW District Wildlife Manager Mark Caddy in a statement. “Sometimes, however, there are one or two people who show up and act in a manner that no one inside or outside of the activity can condone. Evidently, these types of individuals showed up in GMU 70 during the recent hunting seasons.” 

Breakdown of Poaching Cases Being Investigated in Colorado

On Oct. 30, a small mule deer buck was poached in the Dry Creek Basin’s higher elevations. While CPW was investigating this buck, nearby hunters reported another dead mule deer buck less than a mile away. According to CPW, the animals were close to the road. Their wounds were instantly fatal, but they were left to waste. Caddy claimed there was no apparent reason why an ethical hunter would not have tagged the animals.

On Nov. 6, hunters reported a third dead mule deer buck in Dry Creek Basin. Similar to the first two, the carcass was near the road and the wound was instantly fatal. Again, there seems to be no reason why anyone would have left the meat to rot.

CPW District Wildlife Manager Tony Bonacquista was investigating the previous Nov. 6 case when he received a call about two dead bull elk in the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area. The bulls were legal based on the antler point restriction, according to CPW, and their wounds were fatal. They were both 400 yards from a main road southwest of Norwood, Colorado.

On Nov. 17, hunters reported that someone shot and left a spike bull elk in the Callan Draw area, also southwest of Norwood. Additionally, officials found two cow elk in the area. It appeared that the poachers tried to retrieve the cow elk. But they seemed to abandon the process, leaving behind equipment. Most likely the poacher killed the elk Nov. 15 or 16, according to CPW.