Colorado Bull Elk in Rut at Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo Credit: Matt Dirksen (iStock).

A decapitated elk carcass was found in Montezuma County last week, prompting a poaching investigation from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

According to CPW District Wildlife Manager Matt Sturdevant, the perpetrator severed and removed the head of a bull elk after illegally shooting it, leaving the remaining parts of the animal to rot. 

The elk's headless carcass was discovered by a landowner near the community of Yellow Jacket.

If caught, the suspected poacher could face penalties and fines totaling up $10,000 for charges that include wasting game meat, hunting out of season, and trespassing, the Durango Herald reports

Officials believe the criminal act took place sometime between the evening of Aug. 25 and the morning of Aug. 26.

Anyone with information is urged to call Matt Sturdevant at 970-749-1435 or the state’s “Operation Game Thief” at 1-877-265-6648. Information can also be emailed to game.thief@state.co.us. Tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a possible reward.


Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as the Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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