BOISE -- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game would like to speak to whoever left the carcasses of an elk and two mule deer to waste earlier this month.
The first case - a spike elk discovered near Arrowrock Reservoir’s Irish Creek boat ramp - likely happened around Nov. 1, officials say. Hunters apparently cut the elk in two, but left half of it behind in a field.
Fish and Game conservation officer Ben Cadwallader said the culprit may have tried to take more of the meat before giving up.
“It appears that attempts were made to pack portions of the other elk half away from the kill site,” he explained in a press release. “Yet one whole front quarter was found – apparently discarded – just off the trail, as though the person became injured or perhaps exhausted.”
Officials collected evidence from the area, but have not yet found the person responsible.
“Given the popularity of this area, it’s highly likely someone witnessed what happened here,” Cadwallader said.
Fish and Game officials opened another waste investigation after a pair of mule deer were found about a mile northwest of Idaho City in early November.
The hunter had not taken any meat from the doe, and only one hindquarter and the tenderloins were removed from the buck, officials say.
“In this case, it appears that the two-point buck and doe mule deer were harvested, field dressed and hung in a hunting camp or at a residence, perhaps for several days,” Cadwallader said. “Despite this time investment, the deer carcasses were eventually loaded into a UTV, hauled to the woods and dumped.”
Fish and Game spokesman Evin Oneale said it's not clear whether the animals were poached; it is just as likely the hunters shot them legally.
But under Idaho law, hunters are required to remove and take the meat from game animals, with the exception of black bears, mountain lions and gray wolves. Wasteful destruction of game meat is a misdemeanor that can carry penalties including loss of hunting privledges.
Oneale said Fish and Game officers just want to talk to the people involved to learn why they left the meat and whether there were extenuating circumstances. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or the Nampa Fish and Game office at 208-465-8465.