A total of up to $5,000 has been offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for an elk poaching incident in December 2018.
The reward money has been donated to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife which is investigating the killing of four Roosevelt Elk on private properties southeast of Blue Lake on Dec. 9, 2018. One of the animals was pregnant.
“The incidents happened on private property,” said Warden John Fraley of the Eureka CDFW office, who’s handling the investigation. “There were multiple sites and I have minimal leads that I’m trying to ferret information from to see if that leads anywhere.”
The lack of leads prompted outdoors and hunting enthusiasts to provide money for the reward.
“Obviously, whoever did this portrays every outdoorsman and conservationist as bad,” said California Bowmen Hunters president Chriss Bowles, whose organization donated $2,500 to the reward fund. “You have these guys who just want trophies ad it’s extremely sad, especially to see a pregnant cow because you’re taking away from the population. It’s aggravating for us. We represent between 3,500-4,000 members and when we see stuff like this we get upset and even if they get caught they tend to get off lightly.”
Fraley said he was not sure what type of firearm was used and the lack of solid leads means he hasn’t gotten very far in the effort to identify a suspect.
“The main reason I don’t think we’ll get much is because I don’t think anybody actually saw the incident,” Fraley said. “This was a solitary act and elk poaching happens fairly frequently throughout the whole county.”
Local outdoorsman Kent Sawatzky told the Times-Standard on Wednesday that he decided he would match the initial $2,500 with a donation of his own, bringing the total reward to $5,000.
“It’s frustrating and aggravating,” Bowles said. “As an organization, we took a vote and it was unanimous we allocate some money to spice the pot up a little bit. Occasionally spicing the pot will bring out those individuals concerned about coming forward and maybe they change their minds and say, ‘Maybe I should say something.’ “
Anyone with information regarding the poaching incident can contact Warden John Fraley at 707-445-6943.
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.