Six dead elk were discovered in the Snyderville Basin area near Bitner Road. Most of the elk were found by a Division of Wildlife Resources Officer while making a routine trip to observe the herd.
Utah DWR Conservation Officer Jonathan Moser says five of the six dead elk appear to have been shot by a 22-caliber bullet. He says it is an inappropriate weapon to use on an animal the size of an elk and it results in a long, painful death.
“It would wound the animal and then it would go off and suffer and either die of infection or possibly, if it were to hit big enough artery or blood vessel or something, it could die from bleeding out a little bit but it would take a long time for that to happen.”
At the end of January, a Basin resident reported a dead bull elk in their yard. Moser can’t confirm the cause of death but suspects it was also shot.
"I went up and looked at it this last week and it had been buried underneath the snow. So, we dug it out and removed it and it was very suspicious that it had also been shot. So, I took it and I'm going to let it thaw a little bit before I'm able to determine whether or not it really was shot or if it's something else that killed it. But my suspicion is that it was also shot.”
Moser has no leads as of this reporting but is hoping that someone who knows about the incident will follow their conscience and contact him with information. He says a 22 rifle is not a typical weapon anyone would use to hunt elk.
“A 22 is a really small caliber rifle and it would not be an effective method to hunt legally an elk. It's something that likely these poachers are using to wound the animal so that it will go off and die and then maybe they could go and find the antlers later.”
Moser says if found, the persons who illegally killed the elk would face 3rd degree felony charges and it could result in jail time.
"This is a huge loss of opportunity and depending on what a judge would decide, I would hope that there would be some sort of jail time involved.”
DWR Officer Moser would like to hear from anyone who knows anything about the dead elk. He can be reached at 801-476-2740 or by calling the UTIP hotline at 800-662-3337.
According to the Ask Park City Facebook site, a Go Fund Me page has been started to raise $10,000 as a reward for anyone who helps to identify and prosecute those responsible for killing the elk.