Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2004


Article published January 15, 2004

By Greg Massť

Glenwood Springs correspondent

State wildlife officers are hunting for a person they say is responsible for poaching four deer and leaving them to rot near Carbondale around Christmas.

A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction in the case. One of the deer was a Samson buck, meaning it was considered a trophy deer with an inside antler spread of more than 22 inches. The killed buck had a 28-inch antler spread.

All four deer were left at the scene of the shootings, within a quarter mile of each other. Nothing was removed from the animals.

Justin Martens, the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Carbondale District wildlife manager, said the trophy buck was found on Christmas Day and the others have been found in the days since then.

"The strange thing about this case is that the deer have been found laying where they were shot without anything such as the antlers, heads or any meat being removed," said Martens. "We are working hard to try and stop this person before any more damage is done."

Although Martens declined to give the exact location of the poachings, he said they were within five miles of Carbondale.

"We do have one guy we're looking at," Martens said. "We've taken some stuff from him, and we're getting ballistics tests."

The deer were all shot with a small-caliber rifle, Martens said.

The man, who Martens declined to identify, received a citation for having a loaded firearm.

Martens said it's unclear whether all four deer were shot by the same person.

"We have recovered bullets from three of the deer," he said.

If someone is arrested in connection with the poachings, Martens said the person could face charges of felony willful destruction for shooting a deer and not using the meat or any other parts, and for hunting out of season. If convicted, they could lose their state fishing and hunting license for life.

"Whoever's doing this, I don't think should be allowed to own a gun, and the felony takes care of that," Martens said.

Martens encouraged people to inform the DOW if they see anything suspicious.

"If folks are seeing spotlights or hearing gunshots at night, let us know," he said.

To report poaching activity or to share information on this case, call the DOW's Operation Game Thief at 1-800-332-4155 or the DOW Glenwood Springs office at 945-2920.

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