Two cow elk were shot in Round Valley last Saturday night. Park City Municipal owns the property where both elk were killed. However, the incident may not warrant a violation under the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources even though city laws prohibit hunting on city owned property.
It’s not uncommon for the DWR to issue cow elk hunting permits in December and January. This year, the hunt extends to the end of January. The DWR and the Park City Police are both investigating the killing of the two elk in Round Valley. DWR issued 40 elk permits for this hunting season for the Salt Lake/Wasatch unit and it includes the Round Valley open space. Park City Municipal owns Round Valley and under city jurisdiction, there is no hunting anywhere on city owned property.
Sargent Corey Allinson with the Park City Police Department says they located one elk which was found dead on the Rambler Trail. The remains of the other dead elk were found near a home in Round Valley. Both areas were verified as city owned property. A report to the Summit County Sheriff’s office on Saturday night indicates people were seen dragging an elk carcass to a couple of vehicles parked at the Old Ranch Road trailhead parking area. A resident had also reported hearing gun shots close to their home on Saturday night and another call was made to the Sheriff’s dispatch on Sunday morning because a call was concerned about the amount of blood in the parking area as well.
“And if you are a resident or a hiker or a cross country skier and you see a suspicious vehicle or a Hunter that you would like law enforcement to go and make contact with, don't hesitate to call us at the time it occurs, which gives us a better chance to follow up directly and identify that person and make sure they're operating both within DNR standards as well as the city standards.”
Sargent Allinson says there were 40 lawful hunting permits issued for the area that includes Round Valley, but Park City has its vested interest in managing the property. While charges may not be brought by the DWR, he says the city has several charges they will consider.
“The city as the landowner would say that they're not allowing hunting so if there was a lawful permit for that area, according to the state, the city interest would still be to look into a discharge of a firearm within the city limits as well as if a discharge of a firearm took place within 600 feet of a structure or a road and then possibly, trespassing on city owned property. Those are a few codes that we would be interested in looking at even if DNR stated that taking the animal was lawful. If there was a permit or the hunters had tags that something that still needs to be addressed.”
Allinson says local law enforcement and the Utah Wildlife Resources work well together.
“We’re working with DNR on the tags and the lawful hunting, as well as where the animals were shot from, and looking for violations. [Whether] they had a permit or not? The odds of them having permits is possible but not probable based on the one animal left on the hillside. That's not something that a responsible hunter does. So, we're working off of that suspicion of it being unlawful or poaching. If it does fall under poaching that can be third degree felony based off the value of the animal.”
Allinson says they have limited information on the suspects. They have two vehicle descriptions and partial Utah license plate numbers. One of the vehicles was identified as a gold or silver Chevy or GMC with a partial license identification of L44 and the other vehicle is a white older model Chevy or GMC with a possible plate number of W777ET. Allinson says neither plate is showing up in the state database. They will follow up with the 40 DWR hunting tags that were issued and cross reference license plates with those tag owners.