October 31, 2013 Updated: October 31, 2013 at 7:57 pm
Two spike elk shot and abandoned in Teller County have prompted an investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, little more than a week after a bull moose was found killed and left to rot on Tenderfoot Mountain.
In a news release, wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said the elk were found during the second rifle season in Game Management Unit 511, north of Divide. The second rifle season ran from Oct. 19 through Oct. 27, Hampton said.
Hunting without a license, then abandoning and wasting the meat can potentially lead to felony charges, fines and in some cases prison time, as well as a lifetime suspension of hunting privileges in Colorado.
"It's unfortunate that these animals were shot and left to waste. If a hunter makes a mistake and shoots the wrong animal or shoots multiple animals, they need to immediately contact law enforcement and turn themselves in," District Wildlife Manager Tonya Sharp stated in the news release. "An incident like this can easily be handled with minimal fine and the meat can be donated. When animals are shot and left, wildlife officers must the consider more serious charges against the hunter."
Parks officials said the bull moose remains were discovered Oct. 23 on Tenderfoot Mountain, near Frey Gulch Road in Summit County. The moose was apparently shot during the first rifle season between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16. The incident is being investigated as a possible mistake or a careless kill by an elk hunter, officials said.
The wildlife agency said hunters need to check and understand antler-point restrictions throughout Colorado. Most units posses a four-point rule; bull elk hunted in all seasons must have four points or more on one antler, or a brow tine of at least five inches long.
Taking one shot and following up, especially where multiple animals are present, is very important to avoid waste, according to wildlife officials.
Anyone with information about the shootings can call Sharp at 719-227-5281 or call into Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Tips and information can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.