Investigation underway after two ‘magnificent, large’ bull elk poached in Rocky Mountain National Park | AspenTimes.com

Investigation underway after two ‘magnificent, large’ bull elk poached in Rocky Mountain National Park

Park official: 'Both of these elk were magnificent large bulls'

Lance Maggart
Sky-Hi News

A bull elk grazes not far from Milner Pass in late summer 2015.

Investigators from Rocky Mountain National Park are on the hunt for poachers this week after a pair of elk were illegally shot and killed in the park over the weekend.

Later Sunday afternoon officials from Rocky Mountain National Park confirmed that an investigation is currently underway after two bull elk were poached in separate incidents earlier in the month. The first poaching incident is believed to have occurred during the night of Sept. 11 or the early morning hours of Sept. 12.

“Park rangers discovered a large bull elk had been poached on Trail Ridge Road near Milner Pass,” a park representative stated. “This bull’s head had been severed and the carcass remained.”

The second incident is believed to have occurred during the night of Sept. 21 or the early morning hours of Sept. 22 near Ute Crossing Trail south of Forest Canyon Overlook.

“Park visitors reported a dead bull elk next to Trail Ridge Road,” officials stated.

Officials made no statements regarding whether or not they believe the two incidents are connected. All hunting is prohibited within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park.

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“Both of these elk were magnificent large bulls,” a park official stated. “Tens of thousands of park visitors have viewed and photographed these bulls. The individual(s) involved with these egregious poaching incidents have robbed park visitors from this experience and killed two strong bull elk during the rutting season. Please help the park protect wildlife by reporting any suspicious activity.”

Rangers from Rocky Mountain National Park are urging anyone with information on these incidents, or any other poaching incidents, in the park to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau at 888-653-0009 or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-332-4155. Park officials noted the Milner Pass group of elk from which one bull was poached have frequented the area recently.

“Park rangers are asking for any photographs taken of bull elk near Milner Pass,” officials stated. “Please email those to nps_isb@nps.gov or post on the park’s Facebook page at RockyNPS.”

Individuals providing information that leads to an arrest may receive a reward.