Utah conservation officers have identified a man photographed allegedly allowing his German shepherd to harass a trophy elk in the foothills above Springville last week.
After the man’s photo appeared in media reports Tuesday, two Utah County residents called authorities, identifying the man by name, according to Lt. Jodi Becker, of the Division of Wildlife Resources. Becker identified him as a north Springville resident in his mid-60s.
On Thursday, officers cited him with unlawful taking of protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor that criminalizes harassing and pursuing big game.
Witnesses to the Jan. 31 incident say they saw the dog harass the 6-point bull for at least 45 minutes while the elk was cornered on a ridge and used its antlers to defend itself.
One witness called DWR and photographed a camouflage-clad man who appeared to own the dog. Officers responded within 15 minutes, but the man ran away with his dog before they could make contact with him. When confronted Thursday evening, he said he was photographing the elk, authorities said.
“He didn’t think it was a big deal,” Becker said. Midwinter, however, is no time to disturb wildlife.
“The animals are in a critical time of year with fat stores low. Any unnecessary expenditure of energy can be deadly to an animal,” Becker said.