Hunter’s trophy bull elk stolen from the back of his pickup near Gypsum

Vail Daily staff report
The hunter with his bull elk before its head was stolen from his pickup west of Burns on Oct. 20.
Courtesy of Eagle County Sheriff’s Office

A soldier’s first successful bull elk hunt turned south when his prize harvest was stolen from the back of his pickup near Gypsum in the early morning hours of Oct. 20.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Eagle County Crime Stoppers hope someone with knowledge of the theft will come forward with information to help reunite the hunter with his trophy.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the man harvested a 6×6 bull after several days in the backcountry northwest of Gypsum. He downed the elk in the Derby Mesa loop area late in the day on Oct. 18 and was making trips back and forth to his truck to pack out the animal. He discovered the missing elk head after returning to his truck with his final load at about 2 a.m. Oct. 20.

The man told authorities many items had been moved out of his truck’s bed. And while the elk’s head was missing, the tag from the antlers was left behind. See photo below for a picture of a chip in the elk’s antler that could help identify the animal. 

“Backcountry users and sportsmen often rely on each other, along with honesty and common courtesy,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “This type of theft is simply not acceptable or common in our area, according to detectives, and local agencies are hoping to help spread the word.”

Tips leading to the arrest and indictment of any suspects could earn a reward up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 970-328-8500. Those who want to remain anonymous can call 970-328-7007 or 800-972-TIPS. Submit your tip online at, or text STOPCRIME and your message to 274637.

A chip, which could help identify the stolen rack, is visible in the elk’s antler. (Courtesy photo)

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