Wildlife officials seek information on Naturita poacher – The Journal

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking information on a deer that was poached on County Road FF31 southeast of Naturita.

Mule deer shot and left to rotate on county road

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking the public for help in identifying the person who killed a mule deer buck this month southeast of Naturita in Montrose County.

Wildlife officers found the deer carcass on Feb. 18 off Montrose County Road FF31, according to a CPW news release. The buck was shot with a rifle a few days earlier and was left behind to rot.

“This was a senseless act by a poacher,” said CPW District Wildlife Manager Mark Caddy. “Anybody who would shoot an animal illegally out of season and then leave it to waste should be punished. This action disrespects all hunters and everything hunting is about. Whoever did this is not a hunter, they’re a poacher.”

Caddy discovered the poaching case after issuing a citation to an unassociated party who attempted to possess the antlers. It is illegal to possess shed antlers from private property without permission.

CPW is asking the public to call Caddy at 970-209-2368 if they observed anything suspicious in the area of ​​Montrose County Road FF31 the week of Feb. 14.

Additionally, it is illegal to collect shed antlers on all public lands west of Interstate 25 in Colorado from Jan. 1 through April 30.

The regulation was enacted in 2018 because of the increasing popularity of antler hunting. Violators face a fine of $68.

Deer, elk and moose shed their antlers in winter, but when collectors search for them in winter, it puts stress on the animals, according to CPW.

To further protect the Gunnison sage grouse, the regulations include a time-of-day closure in the Gunnison Basin May 1-15 from sunset to 10 am

A permit is not required to collect shed antlers in Colorado.

To provide information anonymously on poaching, the public can contact Operation Game Thief by phone at 877-265-6648 or by email at [email protected]

Operation Game Thief is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife program that pays rewards to citizens who turn in poachers. A citizens committee administers reward funds in many poaching cases, which are maintained by private contributions. The board may approve rewards of up to $1,000 for flagrant cases.

Anyone illegally injuring or killing wildlife could face misdemeanor charges including harassment of wildlife, hunting big game without a license, illegal taking of wildlife and reckless endangerment, among other charges, according to a CPW news release.

Convictions could result in fines ranging from $750 to $3,000 and up to six months in jail, depending on the charge.

Since 1981, Colorado’s Operation Game Thief has received more than 2,400 reports of poaching, resulting in more than 700 convictions, according to the CPW’s Operation Game Thief webpage.

These convictions have netted over $600,000 in fines and have resulted in the seizure of more than 1,300 illegally taken animals. Almost $130,000 in rewards have been paid to citizens who suspected illegal activity.

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