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DWR officers want to question man for harassing elk

Published February 5, 2013 4:33 pm

Wildlife • Man allowed his German shepherd to harass animal for 45 minutes, witnesses say
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Utah wildlife officials are looking for a man who allowed his dog to harass a bull elk on the foothills of Springville last week.

Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) conservation officers took calls in the afternoon of Jan. 31 from several concerned citizens about a man with a German shepherd that had trapped the mature 6X6 bull on a ledge.

Once at the scene, two officers attempted to make contact with the man, but he called the dog off and ran into the canyon and was not found.

"The bull was trying to defend itself with its antlers, and it was obviously stressed from the confrontation," said Lt. Jodi Becker.

Witnesses said the dog had been harassing the elk for at least 45 minutes before the man called it off and fled the scene.

"We don't know if he was trying to get video footage of the bull, take pictures or maybe try to make it drop its antlers," Becker said. "We are asking people to take a look at the pictures and let us know if they recognize him. We would like him for questioning."

Bull elk lose the antlers each year in mid to late February. There have been cases of people trying to make the antlers fall off by chasing the animals.

Becker said the wildlife is particularly vulnerable in the winter when harassment leads to an unnecessary use of energy, which could lead to death.

Harassing wildlife in Utah is a class B misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If you recognize the man in the pictures call the UTip Hotline at 1-800-662-3337 or Becker at 801-491-5678.