Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking the public for information about two bull elk found dead and abandoned about a half-mile from the summit of Cottonwood Pass, along County Road 306, Sunday, November 5.
CPW District Wildlife Manager Kevin Madler found the elk carcasses after getting a report from a hunter. Based on evidence at the scene, Madler estimates both elk died from gunshot wounds in the early morning of November 5.
Both carcasses were fully intact and abandoned about 50 yards from the road in the far west edge of Chaffee County.
In Colorado, charges of willful destruction of big game and abandoning the animal can bring felony charges and a conviction can result in significant penalties. For elk, fines for a conviction can be more than $10,000, up to a year in jail and a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 44 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
Anyone with information of the elk deaths - even if they only think they saw or heard something - is asked to contact CPW. The tiniest detail could be the missing key piece of information that leads to the person responsible.
CPW realizes accidents can occur during a hunt and urges the responsible party to step forward. Prompt self-reporting will be taken into account when charges are being considered, Madler said.
To report information, contact Madler at 719-539-8413, or the CPW Area 13 office in Salida at 719-530-5520.
To provide information anonymously about a wildlife violation, the public can contact Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648, by dialing #OGT from a Verizon cellphone, or by email at email@example.com. Rewards are available if the information leads to an arrest or citation.