Poaching incident investigated in western Colorado
RULISON, Colorado ” The Colorado Division of Wildlife is investigating a poaching incident near Rulison.
According to DOW spokesman Randy Hampton, the incident occurred on County Road 325 east of Rulison, and south of Interstate 70 and the Colorado River on Feb. 4.
DOW investigators said that three bull elk ” a four-point, a five-point and a six-point ” were probably shot between 5 and 6 p.m. that evening and were discovered shortly after. The animals were shot on private land and left, the poachers took nothing.
Hampton said that while poaching hasn’t been a frequent problem in Western Garfield County this year, it’s an ongoing problem statewide.
“We’ve dealt with poaching in most areas of western Colorado at one time or another,” Hampton said. “This year we’ve not seen any more than normal, but it’s still too many.”
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Penalties for this type of incident vary. However, due to the “trophy nature” of the six-point bull elk, the incident could fall within the penalty of the Samson Law, which calls for a $10,000 fine for poaching a prize animal. The law was created after a bull elk by the same name was illegally killed near Estes Park in 1996.
Hampton said that the penalties will all be determined depending on the ongoing investigation.
“Certainly there are enhanced penalties when three or more animals are involved,” Hampton said. “But all that will determine on the investigation.”
The DOW is offering a reward to anyone who comes forward with information about the incident through Operation Game Thief. Anyone with information will remain anonymous and should call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648, or DOW investigating officer Dan Skinner at 970-589-6784.