A bull moose was illegally killed over the weekend near Park Creek Campground, Idaho Fish and Game officials said.
After receiving multiple reports on Sunday, Fish and Game officers found the carcass left to waste in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, about 12 miles northeast of Sun Valley. Only the animal’s antlers and a small portion of meat had been removed.
Conservation Officer Steve Roberts said in a press statement that investigators are urging hunters or hikers who may have witnessed the poaching to call the Upper Snake Region office at 208-525-7290. He added that tipsters may remain anonymous, and a reward is being offered to help lead officials to the poacher and begin prosecution.
If convicted, the poacher may be ordered to reimburse the state between $1,500 and $10,000 for the moose, depending on if it’s considered a “trophy” bull (indicating an antler spread of 4.5 to 6 feet). The person also faces up to five years of prison time and a maximum $50,000 in fines if the poaching is charged as a felony; if charged as a misdemeanor, the offense warrants up to six months in prison and fines up to $1,000. A one- to three-year hunting and fishing license revocation may also be imposed by the judge.
The weekend poaching followed Fish and Game’s reduction of moose tags for the 2019-20 season, from 669 to 560, which went into effect in January to address Idaho’s declining moose population. Public Information Specialist Brian Pearson previously reported that moose declines across the West have in part been caused by “climate change-related shifts in forage quantity and quality, changing parasite prevalence, and impacts of predation.”
The illegal killing followed last week’s elk poaching outside of Arco, Regional Conservation Officer Doug Petersen said.
For future wildlife violations, Fish and Game urges witnesses to call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 800-632-5999.