Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officers discovered the body of a bull moose this weekend that they believe was poached. It’s the latest in a series of illegal moose shootings that left three of the animals dead in Valley County in recent weeks.
In a news release, IDFG said the bull moose’s body was found near Tripod Meadow west of Smiths Ferry. They believe the animal was killed between Oct. 10 and 17. The bull’s antlers were still intact, and no meat or trophies had been taken from its body.
On Friday morning, two other moose were shot and killed in Valley County, one near Landmark east of Warm Lake and the other near Snowbank southwest of Cascade. Both moose were shot by “inexperienced” hunters, Fish and Game said. Both hunters reported the incidents immediately.
The next day, a Fish and Game conservation officer witnessed two hunters shooting at a moose just north of Payette Lake. The hunters told the officer they believed the animal was an elk. The conservation officer did not find evidence of blood in the area and believes the moose was not harmed.
None of the areas where the incidents occurred have a moose hunting season.
“The Southwest Region has a low density of moose,” said Hollie Miyasaki, a Fish and Game moose biologist, in the news release. “Illegally killing three moose in an area where we don’t have a large enough population to have a hunt could have a negative impact on this population of moose.”
Fish and Game officials said there is a level of leniency for hunters who self-report after killing the wrong animal.
“Potentially, killing a moose during closed season could result in a felony and a $10,000 restitution to the state, but other options exist for people who come forward and handle the mistake correctly,” conservation officer Marshall Haynes said in the news release. “To put it simply, hunters are always responsible for knowing their target, and this isn’t a mistake they should be making. However, in the event that a mistake is made, doing the right thing and self-reporting will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.”
Anyone with information on the poached moose near Tripod Meadows can contact Citizens Against Poaching anonymously at 1-800-632-5999. People can also report online at idfg.idaho.gov/poacher or contact conservation officer Chris Rowley at 208-630-4341.