Elk NetworkHelp Find Arizona Elk Poacher

General | October 11, 2019

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief received nearly 1,100 reports which led to 76 citations for wildlife violations in 2017.

“Poachers are thieves. They do not represent the hunting community, and the majority of the reports come from hunters and anglers w

Photo shows a bull elk believed to have been shot

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is investigating the poaching of a bull elk in late August 2019 north of Heber in Game Management Unit 4B in the east-central part of the state.

The elk was located west of Forest Road 153 near Point and Javelina water catchments. The poacher left the meat to waste.

“Someone may have information about this case,” said AZGFD Wildlife Manager Ken Clay. “We need assistance from the public to find the individual(s) responsible. This is the action of a criminal — it’s theft of wildlife resources from the people of Arizona.”

At the time the poaching occurred, many hunters were scouting for upcoming hunts and other outdoor recreationists were in the area, meaning they may have seen something or have valuable information about this crime.

If you have any information, call (800) 352-0700.

A reward up to $6,000 is available if the information provided leads to an arrest and conviction.

(Photo source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)

ho are out in the field and witness suspicious activity,” said Scott Fischer, program manager for Operation Game Thief. “The hunting community does a great job of policing itself. If you see something, say something.

In 2017, wildlife violators were assessed $74,500 in civil fines, and that money goes directly into the department’s Wildlife Theft Prevention Fund, which pays for the rewards as well as promotion of Operation Game Thief. In addition, 51 individuals had their hunting and/or fishing license revoked by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission as part of their penalty, one of which was a lifetime revocation. The department receives no general fund money from the state of Arizona.

It’s also important to note that mistakes and accidents happen, and the department will work with hunters and anglers who immediately self-report their actions to the Operation Game Thief hotline.

“Mistakes happen in any endeavor, and the amazing thing about hunters is they frequently report themselves,” Fischer said. “Hunters respect wildlife and because of that respect they’re willing to risk penalties in order to ensure meat from the wildlife they take is not wasted.”

(Photo source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)