Multiple poachings in less than two weeks include 'spike' bull elk in Montana - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Multiple poachings in less than two weeks include ‘spike’ bull elk in Montana

A “spike” bull elk is one whose antlers do not branch. (Jim Peaco, National Park Service)

CASPER, Wyo. — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wardens are seeking information on several different “big game poaching cases that have happened in less than two weeks.”

The first of these cases involves a “spike” bull elk, which is a male elk whose antlers do not branch out.

“On Nov. 23, wardens learned of a spike bull elk that was shot and abandoned on Montana State University’s Red Bluff Ranch, north of State Highway 84 and east of Norris,” Montana FWP said on Tuesday, Dec. 3. “That area is within Hunting District 311, where spike elk cannot be hunted.”

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“The animal was found dead and unfit for human consumption. However, it was found near several cow elk carcasses from which hunters had salvaged all edible meat.”

Montana FWP says that spike bull elk are accidentally shot several times per year in restricted areas. If hunters report this to law enforcement, “the meat can be salvaged and donated to local food banks.”

“Fines to the hunter are also minimized,” Montanan FWP said. “Had the hunter who shot this spike elk — mistakenly or otherwise — reported it in a timely manner, the meat could have been salvaged and donated.”

The second poaching incident involved a white-tailed deer buck.

“Wardens are also investigating a white-tailed deer buck that was shot and abandoned on private property near Three Forks sometime between Nov. 24 and 27,” Montana FWP said. “It is likely this animal was shot from a road, possibly at night. The meat from this deer had spoiled by the time it was found.”

Another case also involved a white-tailed buck.

“Another white-tailed deer buck was shot and left on private property in the Four Corners area, west of the Gallatin County gravel pit,” the release states. “Wardens determined this deer was shot on the evening of Nov. 30 with a rifle inside Hunting District 309, which is a weapons-restricted area.”

“This possibly happened from a vehicle or a road after legal shooting hours. The meat from this deer was also unfit for human consumption by the time it was discovered.”

People are asked to report any information they may have on any of the poaching cases.

“Those with information on any of these cases are asked to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (847-6668),” Montana FWP says. “Informants can remain anonymous and may be eligible for monetary rewards.”