WILDLIFE

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources investigating illegal killings of several wild animals

Mar 20, 2024, 7:08 PM | Updated: 7:51 pm

A moose stands in front of a fence....

FILE: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating several recent incidents where wild animals were killed and left to waste. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

EMERY COUNTY, Utah — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating several recent incidents where wild animals were killed and left to waste.

The DWR recently discovered a cow elk and 18 geese dead in Emery County. This instance is the most recent animal killing where the bodies were left to waste after four deer were found in Utah County.

Law enforcement captain Chad Betteridge said these hunters could be charged with a class B misdemeanor.

“To put it in [perspective], if you’re going out and driving drunk, that’s a class B misdemeanor too,” he said. “It’s pretty serious as far as wildlife goes.”

Betteridge said the deer and elk might have been killed during hunting season, meaning they weren’t technically poached. However, the geese definitely were killed illegally.

Betteridge said last year, 1,200 animals were illegally killed in the state, valued at $609,000.

“This past year, it went down a little bit. There were … 1,056 animals that were killed illegally,” he said. “But the value went up a little bit to $619,000, [be]cause some animals have higher value than others.”

The most-often poached animals are fish. According to Betteridge, this is because many fisherman don’t realize – or don’t care – that they have more than they’re licensed to bring home.

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Utah Division of Wildlife Resources investigating illegal killings of several wild animals