CPW investigating poaching case of desert bighorn ram near Gateway
MONTROSE, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking for help from the public in identifying the person who illegally killed a desert bighorn sheep off Colorado State Highway 141 between Gateway and Grand Junction.
CPW wildlife officers responded Monday, Oct. 31 when a rock climber called to report a desert bighorn ram that had been shot and left off Highway 141 between mile markers 147 and 148. Officers found a mature desert bighorn and determined the ram had been shot at least 24 hours earlier. Officers recovered a rifle bullet from behind the front shoulder of the ram. CPW collected evidence at the scene and is actively investigating this poaching incident.
“The ram was shot and left there with nothing removed from it,” said CPW wildlife officer Kevin Duckett. “There is a desert bighorn sheep hunting season in that unit, but it does not start until Nov. 1, and this ram was killed out of season and left to rot.”
Duckett said the ram had a ⅝ to ¾ curl of its horns. Fines could exceed $25,000 for the illegal take of a bighorn ram over half-curl.
Willful destruction of a big-game animal is a felony in Colorado and can result in a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges. Convictions could result in fines and jail time, depending on the charge.
CPW is asking the public for any information regarding the parties responsible for the killing of this desert bighorn sheep. Duckett can be reached at 970-275-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Wildlife officer Stuart Sinclair may also be reached at 970-209-2370 or email@example.com.
To provide information anonymously, the public can contact Operation Game Thief by phone at 877-265-6648 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operation Game Thief is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife program that pays rewards to citizens who turn in poachers. A citizens committee administers reward funds in many poaching cases, which is maintained by private contributions. The board may approve rewards of up to $1,000 for flagrant cases.
Poaching is a serious and costly crime. It robs legitimate sportspeople of game and fish, robs businesses and taxpayers of revenues generated by hunting and fishing, and robs all of us of a valuable natural resource that makes Colorado so special: our wildlife.
“Desert bighorn sheep are pretty limited, and CPW offers very limited opportunities for hunting these sheep,” Duckett said. “This act of poaching takes away from sportspersons.”