2 people suspected of poaching bull elk in high-quality hunting unit of Moffat County

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MOFFAT COUNTY, Colo. — Two people are suspected of illegally killing a bull elk in a high-quality hunting unit in Moffat County in northwestern Colorado, wildlife officials said.

A witness reported what appeared to be a wounded bull elk east of Moffat County Roads 67 and 68 on the northern end of the Sand Wash Basin on the evening of Sept. 25.

The witness told a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer of seeing two men in a pickup truck near the elk.

Officials are searching for the occupants of the gray, early 1990s Ford half-ton extended cab with large mud flaps and possibly a missing tailgate.

The next day, the officer found an elk’s gut pile in the same area. The officer also found evidence that will help determine who might be responsible, officials said.

“Whoever commits any wildlife crime has the opportunity to do the right thing and turn themselves in immediately, and we will take that into account when determining charges,” officer Jeffrey Goncalves said.

“Charges in a case like this can be substantial and penalties may include prison, the loss of their hunting and fishing privileges in 48 states and several thousand dollars in fines.”

The bull was estimated to be a 300-inch class, 6-by-6 bull. The poaching of a bull elk that size could include a $10,000 “trophy penalty” on top of other punishment.

A bull elk license in Game Management Unit 2 is highly coveted because of the high-quality hunting opportunities.

Some hunters might wait up to 25 years or longer to get enough points to draw a license in the unit, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.

“This takes what is essentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity away from legal, ethical hunters,” Goncalves said.

“It’s infuriating and very unfair to ethical hunters and that is one of the primary reasons CPW officers work so hard to bring violators to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to go through the Turn In Poachers program or anonymously through the Operation Game Thief program.

Tips can also be received by calling 877-265-6648 or submitting an email.

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