Officials from the park confirmed on Sunday that an investigation is underway after two bull elk were poached in two separate incidents earlier this month. The first poaching incident is believed to have occurred during the night of Sept. 11 or the early morning hours of Sept. 12.
“Park rangers discovered a large bull elk had been poached on Trail Ridge Road near Milner Pass,” a park representative stated. “This bull’s head had been severed and the carcass remained.”
The second incident is believed to have occurred during the night of Sept. 21 or the early morning hours of Sept. 22 near Ute Crossing Trail south of Forest Canyon Overlook. As yet, there is no reason to believe the two incidents are connected. Hunting is prohibited within Rocky Mountain National Park.
“Both of these elk were magnificent large bulls,” a park official stated. “Tens of thousands of park visitors have viewed and photographed these bulls. The individual(s) involved with these egregious poaching incidents have robbed park visitors from this experience and killed two strong bull elk during the rutting season. Please help the park protect wildlife by reporting any suspicious activity.”
Rangers from Rocky Mountain National Park are urging anyone with information on these incidents, or any other poaching incidents, in the park to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau at 888-653-0009 or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-332-4155. Park officials noted the Milner Pass group of elk from which one bull was poached have frequented the area recently. Individuals providing information that leads to an arrest may receive a reward.