BILLINGS — Four elk, including at least two trophy bulls, have been illegally killed and left to spoil in the Bull Mountains recently. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering a reward of as much as $1,000 for information that leads to a conviction.
FWP Warden Lee Burroughs of Roundup said two bull elk were killed with guns before the rifle season started Oct. 26. One bull elk was found near Dean Creek, which is south of the Musselshell River between Roundup and Lavina. Only the head was removed and the rest was left to scavengers. The second bull, a six-point, was shot along Goulding Creek, southwest of Roundup and left to rot, he said.
On opening day of rifle season, someone shot a six-point bull and a cow elk within a few hundred feet of a county road along Hawk Creek south of Musselshell, Burrough said. Both were left on the ground. Wardens were able to salvage the bull’s carcass and donate the meat. But the cow elk was spoiled, he said.
All four elk were shot on private land. And all four apparently were wantonly poached and left to spoil, Burroughs said.
Under Montana law, people must have permission of landowners to hunt on private land. Shooting from a public road right of way is illegal. And people are prohibited from wasting any edible part of a game animal by leaving it to deteriorate.
Poaching is a crime against all Montanans. Sportsmen are an important source of information about crimes they may witness while in the field.
Anyone with a lead about the four illegally killed elk or any other poaching crime may call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668) to speak to a warden and qualify for a reward.
1-800-TIP-MONT is a toll-free number where people can report violations of fish, wildlife or park regulations. Callers may remain anonymous. It is similar to the well-known Crimestoppers program and offers rewards for information resulting in apprehension of persons who abuse Montana's natural, historic or cultural resources.