Officials investigate mountain lion poaching

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. — The spate of recent poaching incidents in southwest Wyoming claimed another victim, this time in the Cokeville area.

Poachers shot and killed a female mountain lion and its kitten earlier this month, agency officials said Tuesday.

They’re also looking for the person who came by later and removed the head from the adult mountain lion’s carcass.

Game Warden Neil Hymas said the agency is asking for the public’s help in solving the double mountain lion poaching case, which occurred in the Raymond Canyon area sometime prior to Oct. 10.

“We do not know what motivated the killing and abandonment of the trophy game animals,” he said.

Hymas said game wardens believe the female lion’s head may have been taken by a different party.

He said removing parts from a game animal illegally left in the field makes it harder for wardens to investigate the violation.

It is also against the law to take game animals or their parts without having the proper license, or having an interstate game tag issued by the Game and Fish Department.

The two animals were poached in the agency’s mountain lion hunt area 14. Hymas said the poached female mountain lion will count toward the mortality quota in the hunt area.

Mountain lion hunt areas are closed when the prescribed number of animals is taken by hunters or poachers in any given hunt area.

Under Wyoming law, it is also illegal to take a mountain lion that is accompanied by kittens.

Rash of incidents

Game and Fish officials have noted an unusually high number of poaching incidents in southwest Wyoming this fall hunting season.

Even before the Sept. 1 deer season began, game wardens said a trophy buck mule deer was shot by poachers using a high-powered rifle on White Mountain northeast of Rock Springs. The deer was killed sometime between Aug. 28 and Aug. 31.

Wardens said the poacher made a poor shot and the animal most likely suffered considerably before dying.

Last week, wardens investigated two separate poaching incidents in Sweetwater and Uinta counties.

Poachers shot and killed two elk on Aspen Mountain south of Rock Springs, killing one elk outright and leaving the second animal to die slowly.

The wounded animal, alive but unable to move, had to be euthanized by a Wyoming highway patrolman.

Authorities also found a large mule deer that had been poached in the Bridger Valley that wardens said was killed for its antlers. The animal was not field dressed and was also shot with a high-powered rifle.

Hymas said anyone with information about the mountain lion poaching incident is asked to contact the Game and Fish Department at 1-877-943-3847. Tips can result in a reward and informants can choose to remain anonymous. Tips can be reported online at http://gf.state.wy.

Contact Jeff Gearino at gearino@tribcsp.com or 307-875-5359.

bigcatrescue.org

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