Reward offered for information leading to poacher in Utah
Utah wildlife officials are offering an $8,000 reward to whomever can lead them to a trophy buck's poacher.
On Saturday, several people saw several ravens and eagles flying near Shurtz Canyon, south of Cedar City. They hiked up and found the buck's carcass, according to a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources news release.
The buck was last seen alive Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Investigating conservation officers also found a doe that someone had illegally killed during the same time frame as the buck, according to the release.
"The illegal killing and subsequent waste of wildlife is extremely frustrating for wildlife officials," the release reads. "It is a theft from hunters and from those who love to watch wildlife. Deer are currently in [mating season] and are very susceptible to harassment."
Confirmed deer poaching incidents have dropped 34 percent in the past four years, ever since conservation officers made it a top priority to patrol during the winter and protect big game populations. Officers typically cover more than 2,000 square miles during these patrols.
But there are still holes in their patrols, which is where the public comes in.
Investigators need the public's help to find the poacher or poachers. Anyone with information can call the Utah Turn in a Poacher hot line at 1-800-662-3337 or the division's southern region office at 435-865-6100. Callers can remain anonymous.
The division is offering $8,000 to the person whose tip leads to a successful conviction. The reward is being jointly offered by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Mule Deer Foundation.
"Members of the public are critical in helping protect Utah's valuable and vulnerable wildlife," according to the release.