Alert Hunters Help Catch Elk Poacher

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Two Utah County hunters were in the right place at the right time and caught an elk poacher Oct. 7.

The two men, Danny Adams of Orem and Cliff Leyva of Spanish Fork, were returning to their archery hunting spot near Strawberry Reservoir to retrieve their tree stands from an earlier archery hunt. They stopped and spoke with a hunter in the area who said he was hunting for a spike bull elk (a bull elk that has at least one antler with no branching). After a brief conversation, they walked to their tree stands and were surprised to find a dead, mature 6-point bull elk that had recently been shot and left to spoil.

The men immediately called wildlife officers and reported the violation. Division of Wildlife Resources' Conservation Officer Paul Davis arrived and was escorted to the elk by Adams and Leyva. Because of the darkness, they decided to return at first light the next morning. Upon returning, they found the suspected shooter's vehicle still in the area. Shortly after 1 p.m., the suspect returned to his truck and after a short discussion with Davis, admitted shooting the elk and leaving it to waste. Davis removed a bullet from the elk carcass, and the meat and antlers were packed out. "Danny and Cliff gave an excellent description of the suspect and his vehicle, which is very helpful in poaching cases such as this," Davis said.

The two witnesses will receive a limited entry bull elk tag next year on the Wasatch Mountain elk unit and a cash reward. "These guys did everything right," Davis said. "Without their help, we would have never caught this poacher."

Anyone with information regarding a wildlife violation should immediately call the Help Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3337). The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days per week. If you have less urgent information, you may also fill out the DOW's online form to report the violation.