DOW Seeks Info in Two Blatant Poaching Cases

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is asking for help with recent big game poaching incidents in northwest Colorado.

The first incident occurred the night of Saturday, Jan. 21 about midnight. A large bull elk was shot on Highway 64, near mile marker 2, south of the town of Dinosaur. The animal's head was removed and the rest of the elk was left to rot at the side of the road.

In another blatant poaching incident, two bull elk were killed illegally in the Wild Mountain area along the Utah border and near Dinosaur National Monument. The elk's antlers were removed and the carcasses were tossed in a pile under a tree and went to waste. Investigating officers believe this crime likely occurred in mid to late December.

Wildlife officers are hopeful that someone traveling through either of these areas may have seen some suspicious activity. It is also possible that someone overheard another person talking about these crimes.

If anyone has any information regarding these big game poaching incidents, please call the Meeker DOW Office at (970) 878-6090 or call the Operation Game Thief (OGT) hotline toll-free at 1(877) COLO-OGT (1-877-265-6648).

OGT pays cash rewards to people that provide information leading to an arrest or citations being issued in wildlife cases. OGT allows callers to remain anonymous and tipsters are not required to testify in court.

Information received in these cases may also qualify under the DOW's TIP (Turn in Poachers) program. TIP allows a caller to receive preference points or a license to hunt in the area where the poaching incidents occurred. These crimes occurred in premier game management units (GMU 10 and 1, respectively) so a TIP caller could receive a rare opportunity to hunt these special units. Under the TIP program a caller would be required to give their name and testify in the event of a court case.

The winter months typically see an increase in poaching activity because snow pushes animals into valleys, near communities, and along roadways. The incredibly majestic animals that can outsmart even the most skilled hunters season after season are much more vulnerable as they seek out available food during the winter.

Officers offer the following reminders for anyone who sees suspicious activity:

* Notify the DOW as soon as possible. Call OGT at 1-877-265-6648 or contact the local DOW office. The sooner information is received the more likely the perpetrator is to be caught.

* Take note of the time the incident occurred and the exact location. GPS coordinates are the best option, but buildings, mile markers, guard rails, fences, and other landmarks can help officers quickly find locations.

* Write down a detailed description of vehicles you see in the area. License plate numbers are the best way to find a vehicle, but also note the make, model, and color. Also look for two-door or four-door, camper shell or trailer, and any identifiable bumper stickers or dents.

* Get a good description of the suspect or suspects. What are they wearing? Do they walk with a limp or smoke or have a jacket with a strange logo on it?

* Remember, no wildlife crime is worth being injured or killed. Observe from a distance and never confront someone who is committing a crime.