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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, DEC. 30, 2009:
DEER, ELK AND ANTELOPE HIT HARD BY POACHERS IN NORTHWESTERN NM
FARMINGTON -- Department of Game and Fish conservation officers are investigating multiple poaching cases in Northwestern New Mexico involving deer, elk and antelope.
Fourteen deer, one elk and three antelope are known to have been killed illegally so far this winter. While no parts of the antelope were removed from the scenes of the crimes, “the majority of the deer and the elk have only had the heads removed, and the rest was left to rot” said Brad Ryan, Aztec District Conservation Officer in Aztec.
Large mule deer are particularly susceptible to poaching at this time of year because they are breeding and not as wary as usual. In early December, three of the deer were discovered decapitated on the “Rosa” portion of the Bureau of Land Management property near Navajo Lake.
Other headless deer have been found in Ahagadero Canyon on the Jicarilla District of the Carson National Forest, the Horse Wash area in game management unit 2A, Middle Mesa north of Navajo Lake State Park, near Lindrith, Heron Lake State Park and near the Laguna Vista subdivision adjacent to Heron Lake. The elk was found at mile marker 99 on US 64 east of Bloomfield.
“These big deer are the reason Northern New Mexico is known for great deer hunting,” said Bill Taylor, Game Manager for Northwest Area Operations. “If poachers continue to kill these big deer for their antlers, disrupting the breeding cycle, we could see a decrease in the population and quality of deer harvested in the region.”
The three dead antelope were killed about 5 miles north of Kirtland along an oil field service road.
Largo District Conservation Officer Matt Anthony said, “Two of the antelope were killed between Dec. 26 and 27, and a third antelope found within a half mile of the other two had been dead for approximately a week.”
This case is unique because nothing was taken from the animals.
Investigations of these incidents are pending, but anyone with information about these cases or any other examples of the illegal take of wildlife should call the Operation Game Thief hotline, (800) 432-4263. Rewards are being offered; up to $750 in the elk poaching case, up to $500.00 in the deer poaching case and up to $350.00 in the antelope case. To qualify, tipsters must provide information resulting in an arrest or charges being filed.