Two cow elk were shot over the weekend in Round Valley. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources confirms there is a cow elk hunt underway through the end of January, but it remains unclear if the people who killed them will be charged under the DWR's jurisdiction.
Summit County Sheriff’s dispatch received a call from a resident on Sunday morning concerned about a blood-soaked area in the Rambler Trailhead parking area off Old Ranch Road. Sheriff’s Lieutenant Andrew Wright says on Saturday evening at about 6:30, a different caller reported two trucks and people dragging an elk carcass through the snow to the waiting vehicles.
“There was a large amount of blood that looked like some sort of a large animal was carried out of the area said that a neighborhood called the night prior because there were two trucks that were in the area and thinks that it may be related. They just wanted a law enforcement officer to go check out the blood marks and see what was going on.”
The case was referred to the Division of Wildlife Resources, DWR. Conservation Officer McKay Briley says they are still investigating the case. He said they received a complaint from a homeowner that a gun had been fired close to their home. One was harvested and a gut pile left within a couple hundred feet of an Old Ranch Road home. The law prohibits shooting within 600 feet of a residence. One of the cow elk was found about a mile up the Rambler Trail. The meat was spoiled, and Briley says he could not donate it. He moved the carcass off the trail.
The Wildlife Board decides where hunting is allowed. Briley says the DWR is digging through state code to determine whether hunting in this area of Round Valley is legal. and explained they will continue to investigate each of the shootings. He doesn’t think the elk carcass, or the gut pile has lead shot in them, which would present health hazards to other scavenging animals.
"So, the incident occurred on Park City Municipal Corporation land near the trailhead. The Rambler trailhead. Right now, we're in the process of figuring out the exact…whether or not the wildlife board has restricted hunting there or has not.”
Briley says they haven’t determined if hunting is legal. They received a report of a partial license plate number but have not identified the owner of the vehicle.
“There are a variety of citations that could occur from this incident however a lot of it still speculation at this moment. Say for example it's not possible at that point you know we would take the necessary steps in the investigation.”
There is an elk herd that winters in the popular Round Valley area. It also attracts recreationists from the region and the surrounding neighborhoods. Briley was asked what people should do to be sure they remain safe during the the hunting season.
“As far as the orange goes, if people feel like that something that they want to do they can that would be a choice that they can make. I’m not aware of any prior safety issues that have occurred, in the area. Without knowing exactly where we stand in terms of wildlife board you know we have to make that decision and figure out where we're going to go from there. But ultimately I’d say, people stay safe and I don't really have any other suggestions other than that.”
Briley does not know when the DWR will determine if it is legal to hunt in areas in or near Round Valley. They are researching Utah State Code, Section 23-20. https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title23/Chapter20/23-20-S30.html They also are considering Administrative Code R-657 for clarification on hunting in Round Valley. https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r657/r657.htm