SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah wildlife officials are asking the public’s help in figuring out who shot a bull moose in Wasatch County last month and left the carcass to waste.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said in a release Monday the bull moose was killed in the Strawberry River Drainage, likely between Oct. 7-12.
Investigators discovered the moose was felled by a bullet, which pierced both its front shoulders, rendering the animal incapable of walking.
“There was a bull moose hunt taking place in the area during the same timeframe the moose is believed to have been shot,” the release said. “However, due to the location of the wound, officers believe the animal was killed and left to waste, rather than the hunter being unable to find the animal after shooting it.”
Faith Heaton Jolley, spokesperson for the DWR, said that even for hunters with a license and permit, it is illegal to kill an animal and not harvest its meat.
“In this specific instance, it is unknown if the person had a valid hunting license and permit, but even if they did, they still broke the law by leaving the moose to waste without attempting to harvest the meat from it,” she said, in an email.
Wasting an animal in Utah brings a class B misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
However, the wasting of a protected animal, as in this case, could also lead to a wanton destruction of a protected animal charge, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Anyone with information on the illegal killing of the moose is asked to call the DWR at 800-662-3337 or text 847411.
Hundreds of animals are killed illegally in Utah every year, the DWR said. Last year, conservation officers confirmed more than 1,200 wild animals and fish were illegally killed in the state.