Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking the public’s help for information on what appears to be an attempted poaching or malicious wounding of a moose near Teton Lakes Golf Course in Rexburg.
The moose was located Wednesday by Fish and Game officials near the Teton River. The animal had multiple arrow wounds to its body and an arrow sticking through its head.
Officials sedated the animal and cleaned its wounds on site in an effort to avoid unnecessary stress, and released it back into the area. It is believed the cold weather will lessen the moose’s chances of infection and allow for its wounds to heal properly in the wild.
Gregg Losinski, regional conservation educator for Fish and Game, said he believes the wounds appeared to be recent. Moose hunting season ended in the area Nov. 23.
Sentences for those found guilty of poaching or malicious wounding of an animal vary depending on the circumstances, according to Losinski. Poaching can result in felony charges, carrying a maximum punishment of up to five years in state prison, a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing license privileges, and up to a $50,000 fine for each count.
“That’s why we need the public’s help to not only find out who did it, but of course the circumstances,” Losinski said. “Those are all things that come into play when dealing with the different aspects of it.”
While poaching convictions occur, the true number of animals taken out of season is something Fish and Game officials cannot pinpoint.
“People who hunt with permits are required to check in their animals, and people that break the law don’t,” Losinski said. “In this case, this was unsuccessful at whatever level, and we were only made aware of it because we found the animal.”
Anyone with information regarding the Rexburg case or any other potential poaching is encouraged to call the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline at 1-800-632-5999, or District Conservation Officer Andrew Sorenson at 208-390-0632.
Reporter Marc Basham can be reached at 208-542-6763.