Fox found skinned on Silt roadside
July 28, 2009
SILT, Colo. – A young fox, possibly a juvenile or early adult, was found late last week at an undisclosed location alongside a road near Silt, in what state wildlife officials say could be a strange case of poaching.
The fox was discovered by Silt area resident Bernie Boettcher, who photographed the almost entirely skinned carcass and sent a copy to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on July 24, along with the note, “Maybe some of your readers would like to see where their fur coats come from.”
A call to the Colorado Department of Wildlife, which oversees poaching and other issues related to the state’s wild creatures, uncovered no indication of poachers focusing on young foxes.
“It could have been something legitimate,” said DOW spokesman Randy Hampton, noting that a local farmer or rancher might have caught the young fox chasing chickens or other livestock.
But, Hampton added, “it does appear that somebody took the pelt,” which he said is not something normally found in cases where a small predator has been chasing chickens or sheep and gets shot.
And, he said, “Typically they wouldn’t dump it on the roadside.”
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He said that in his six years with the DOW, he has seen this kind of discovery “maybe twice,” and that there have been no reports of similar incidents recently that could indicate an organized campaign.
Such things have happened with some wildlife species, but Hampton said that he was not aware of such a development regarding fox pelts.
In the middle of a recession, if luxury furs retain a considerable value, he mused, “it could be worth it” for a hunter gripped by poverty and desperate for any income at all.
But he said there are no indications that the circumstance of the current economic slump have led to a widespread increase in poaching for furs of any kind, let alone very young foxes.
Still, Hampton conceded, hunting fox out of season is a criminal offense in Colorado; he said the fox season runs from Nov. 1 through the end of February.
“And I suppose there’s a market out there for everything,” even very young fox pelts, he concluded.
He said the DOW had not received an official report of the incident yet, but was hopeful that one would be submitted soon.
Boettcher could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.