Investigation into 2 bull elk poached from Rocky Mountain National Park in September still ongoing; $2,000 reward offered | VailDaily.com

Investigation into 2 bull elk poached from Rocky Mountain National Park in September still ongoing; $2,000 reward offered

Lance Maggart
Sky-Hi News
A bull elk rests in an Eagle County meadow.
Photo courtesy Rick Spitzer

Investigators from Rocky Mountain National Park are still on the hunt for poachers after a pair of elk were illegally shot and killed in the park in September.

Officials from Rocky Mountain National Park said that an investigation is ongoing after two bull elk were poached in separate incidents. The first poaching incident is believed to have occurred during the night of Sept. 11 or the early morning hours of Sept. 12.

A reward of up to $2,000 is now being offered for information regarding the incidents, which must be relevant and lead to an arrest or criminal conviction.

Park rangers discovered a large bull elk had been poached on Trail Ridge Road near Milner Pass, according to a park representative. The bull’s head had been severed and the carcass remained.

The second incident is believed to have occurred during the night of Sept. 21 or the early morning hours of Sept. 22 near Ute Crossing Trail south of Forest Canyon Overlook.

Park visitors reported a dead bull elk next to Trail Ridge Road, officials indicated.

Officials made no statements regarding whether or not they believe the two incidents are connected. All hunting is prohibited within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Both of these elk were magnificent large bulls,” a park official stated in September. “Tens of thousands of park visitors have viewed and photographed these bulls. The individual(s) involved with these egregious poaching incidents have robbed park visitors from this experience and killed two strong bull elk during the rutting season. Please help the park protect wildlife by reporting any suspicious activity.”

Rangers from Rocky Mountain National Park are urging anyone with information on these incidents, or any other poaching incidents, in the park to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau at 888-653-0009 or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-332-4155. Park officials noted the Milner Pass group of elk from which one bull was poached have frequented the area.

Park rangers are asking for any photographs taken of bull elk near Milner Pass. Those photos can be emailed to nps_isb@nps.gov or post on the park’s Facebook page at RockyNPS.


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