'Left to waste': Wildlife officers investigate 8 deer and elk kills in San Miguel County

‘Left to waste’: Wildlife officers investigate 8 deer and elk kills in San Miguel County

Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating those responsible for a spate of suspected poaching incidents earlier this month. Eight deer and elk were killed in two and a half weeks and the carcasses left behind.

Five of the animals were killed within walking distance of roads, according to a CPW press release.

“All of these animals were found slaughtered and left abandoned,” Rachel Sralla, CPW wildlife manager, said in the press release. “This is a clear violation of Colorado hunting and fishing laws, which require hunters to prepare game meat for human consumption.”

The incidents occurred within the boundaries of CPW Game Management Unit 70. GMU 70 includes portions of San Miguel, Dolores, and Montrose counties. It consists of areas around Telluride and Mount Sneffels on the east, bordering County Highway 62, Wrights Mesa, and Paradox Valley on its northern side, and paralleling Disappointment Creek and Disappointment Valley on its southern boundary. It stretches west to the Colorado-Utah border. On October 30, CPW investigators investigated the alleged poaching of a small mule deer shot in the high elevations of the Dry Creek Basin and left behind. They were approached by hunters who had found another male less than a mile away.

CPW District Wildlife Officer Mark Caddy said in the press release that there was no apparent reason an ethical hunter had not retrieved and tagged these deer and properly harvested the meat. .

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A bull elk that was shot and left abandoned in the Dan Noble State Wildlife Sanctuary.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife


Another mule deer was found Nov. 6 in the Dry Creek Basin. He was “within easy walking distance of the road” and was reportedly killed that day. Caddy said.

On the same day, hunters reported that two male elk had been shot and left at the Dan Noble State Wildlife Sanctuary about 14 miles southwest of Norwood.

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A bull elk that was found shot and left abandoned in the Callan Draw area southwest of Norwood.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife


On November 17, hunters reported that a dead white-headed elk remained in the Callan Draw area southwest of Norwood. CPW investigators discovered two elk that had also been killed nearby.

Investigators estimated that the animals had been killed a day or two earlier. They also found evidence that the parties who killed the cows initially tried to recover the carcasses but left them behind – along with equipment, which was taken into evidence.

“In any activity that people enjoy, most of the time things go well and participants behave in a legal, moral and ethically appropriate manner,” Caddy said in the press release. “Sometimes, however, there are one or two people who show up and act in a way that no one inside or outside the business can tolerate. Obviously, these types of individuals are featured in the GMU 70 in recent hunting seasons.”

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In all cases, hunters discovered the remains and reported them to CPW.

“The initial information about each animal in these cases came from hunters in the field who took the time to call and report something was up,” Caddy said. “These ethical hunters are as concerned about what’s going on as we are.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Operation Game Thief by phone at 877-265-6648 or by email at game.thief@state.co.us. A $1,000 reward is possible for information leading to an arrest.

11/21/22

Pic1: A bull elk that was found shot and left stranded is pictured November 17 in the Callan Draw area southwest of Norwood. Tony Bonacquista/CPW Photos
Pic2: A bull elk that was shot and left stranded is pictured November 6 at the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area.
Pic3: A male mule deer that has been shot and left stranded is pictured October 30 in the Dry Creek Basin.

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