Rewards increased for illegal poaching in Roaring Fork Valley | AspenTimes.com

Rewards increased for illegal poaching in Roaring Fork Valley

Staff report

Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Wednesday that the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering rewards of $5,000 for information about the illegal killings of a bull elk and a bear in the Roaring Fork Valley.

On Sept. 24, a bull elk was found shot to death in the Owl Creek area between Aspen and Snowmass Village. The elk survived the initial shot, believed to have come from a small-caliber rifle or pistol, and wandered to the Owl Creek area, where it died, officers said.

"In Colorado, elk must be taken with a .24-caliber or larger bullet during a rifle season or a .50-caliber or larger bullet during muzzleloader season," Parks and Wildlife said in a statement. "However, the only legal method of take for elk at the time the bull was shot was with archery equipment. The use of any firearm would have been illegal."

The case remains under investigation, as does the killing of a female bear discovered along the Babbish Gulch Trail near Sunlight Ski Resort on Sept. 26. Officers determined that the bear died from a gunshot.

The bear's cub, found lingering near the carcass, was captured and released by wildlife officers.

Both rewards will add to the reward offered by Operation Game Thief for tips that lead to a conviction in either case. The number for Operation Game Thief's wildlife-violation hotline is 877-265-6648. Tips can be left anonymously.

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"We appreciate the additional money and hope it generates some leads for us," said Perry Will, area wildlife manager in Glenwood Springs, in a prepared statement. "We can use all the help we can get to find out what happened in each case and bring the violators to justice." For more information about Operation Game Thief, visit http://www.cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/OGT.aspx.