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Mon, June 01

Reward for poaching information reaches $8,000

The Arizona Elk Society has partnered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to increase the reward for information regarding the poaching of two bull elk near Ash Fork.

Arizona Elk Society is matching the reward offered by Operation Game Thief; bringing the total possible reward to $8,000.

The two elk were poached in Game Management Unit 10, north of Ash Fork, on Sept. 24. After killing the elk, the poachers removed the antlers from the animals and left both elk to rot in the field.

"This incident is the most senseless act I've investigated in the past 15 years" said Scott Poppenberger, wildlife manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "It really demonstrates the vulnerability of the resource to abuse by disrespectful criminals. I want to be clear: the individuals involved with this incident are not sportsmen."

Game and Fish investigators have collected a substantial amount of physical evidence in the case that will help identify the suspects.

"Several individuals were involved in this violation and have undoubtedly told others and people have probably seen the antlers," Poppenberger said. "If you've heard anyone discussing this incident, or if you saw anything suspicious in the area or know where these individuals are, we ask that you contact us."

"The Elk Society has offered to provide significant incentive to help us catch those responsible for the poaching of these two animals," said Tim Baumgarten, law enforcement program manager at the Game and Fish Kingman office. "We need to catch those responsible and that's going to require the public's help."

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700. Caller identities will remain confidential upon request. The department is currently offering a reward up to $4,000 for information leading to the arrest of the individuals involved in this violation and the Arizona Elk Society is offering $4,000 upon conviction. Callers may also contact the Game and Fish Kingman office at (928) 692-7700.

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