Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking information about the death of a bull moose found Wednesday, near Frey Gulch Road on Tenderfoot Mountain, east of the shooting range. According to wildlife officials, the moose died from a gunshot wound and was not field dressed, leaving the meat to waste.
CPW urges the public to provide any additional information that may lead to the person or persons responsible, including personal photos of any live bull moose seen in the area since early October.
The animal was discovered during Colorado's 2nd Rifle hunting season, however officials believe it was killed in early October, possibly during the 1st Rifle season, Oct. 12 through 16. Although the circumstances are currently unknown, officials are investigating the incident as a possible mistaken or careless kill by an elk hunter.
"We understand that mistaken kills can happen while hunting, but we ask hunters to let us know right away," said District Wildlife Manager Elissa Knox, of Summit County. "Killing an animal without a license, abandoning and wasting the meat and evading authorities can potentially lead to felony charges, substantial fines, prison time and a lifetime suspension of hunting privileges in Colorado as well as 38 other states."
Knox adds that if officers have to track down individuals in cases like this, they will likely face the maximum penalties. She says that officers will take prompt self-reporting into consideration and encourages the person responsible in this incident to contact wildlife officials as soon as possible.
In recent years, Colorado wildlife officers have investigated a number of incidents involving the misidentification of moose for an elk. Hunters are reminded to always be 100 percent sure of their target before they shoot and notify officials immediately if they have killed the wrong species.
What to Do if You Make a Mistake
Every year hunters make mistakes in the field. Hunters might: shoot the wrong animal, accidentally kill more than one animal, hunt in the wrong Game Management Unit, etc. Most of these mistakes can be avoided, although some are truly accidental.
Officers understand that mistakes occur. If you make a mistake, your best course of action is to contact a CPW officer as soon as possible to report the problem. While you will still be subject to penalties, those could be less severe if the officer determines that you are cooperative, that the error was not intentional, or that it was unavoidable given the circumstances.
Operation Game Thief
Anyone with information that can help in this investigation can contact Operation Game Thief, a wildlife tips hotline at 877-265-6648. Callers will remain anonymous and cash rewards may be given if the information leads to a conviction.
For more information about Operation Game Thief, visit the Operation Game Thief.