Game and Fish Seeks Help Finding Elk Poachers

An elk near the Grand Canyon. | Jeff Lewis

An elk was illegally killed on the Mogollon Rim earlier this month, and Arizona wildlife officials are looking for the culprits.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says the female elk was found on the closed Forest Road 308H in the Strawberry area north of Payson, the Associated Press reported this week. It's believed to have been killed November 10 or 11, the department says.

The same poachers are thought to have camped along the road and also killed a non-game bird around the same time, Game and Fish says. There was no open season on elk at the time.

The department has collected fingerprints and possible DNA evidence from the scene, but it's also offering up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest in the case. If you have information you'd like to share, you can contact Game and Fish at 800-352-0700 or use the online form at the department's Operation Game Thief website. Be sure to reference case number 17-004469. The information will remain confidential, and you can remain anonymous if you wish.

As longtime readers of Arizona Highways might know, all the elk in Arizona are descendants of animals transplanted from Yellowstone National Park in the 1900s. The new population has flourished, and around 35,000 elk now live in Arizona, according to Game and Fish. The Merriam's elk, a subspecies native to Arizona, was hunted to extinction by the early 1900s.

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