SOUTH SALT LAKE — State conservation officials say they recovered five dozen waterfowl, including 59 ducks, that were hunted in Idaho and illegally left for waste in a Utah dumpster last week.
The 59 ducks and one Western grebe were discovered in a dumpster in an industrial part of South Salt Lake and reported to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said DWR conservation officer Josef Lehr on Thursday. There was no attempt to salvage meat from the birds.
Officials said they were able to identify an individual involved in the case. After a short investigation, they determined the birds were harvested in Idaho before they were brought to and dumped in Utah, with multiple individuals involved. The division did not share the identity of anyone involved in the case or how many were involved.
It is illegal in Utah to allow wildlife to waste, even if the game killed was brought over from another state, Lehr explained. Like other forms of poaching, the severity of the crime depends on the case and ranges from a misdemeanor to a felony.
"You can legally harvest something; but once you transport it to Utah and dispose of it illegally in Utah, you've committed a violation in Utah," Lehr said. "We want to make sure all hunters and anglers use the edible portions of meat from animals that they harvest legally, so that way we can sustain hunting and fishing for future generations."
In this case, it is illegal to waste the breast meat of the duck. The same goes for usable meat from other animals like fish fillet or the four quarters of a deer or elk carcass. For example, two people were cited earlier this year after 260 fish were found left to waste in Syracuse.
The DWR is working with officials from the Idaho Fish and Game in the investigation since the ducks were hunted in Idaho. The agency is planning to pursue charges in the case in Utah, but the case remains under investigation, Lehr said.
Conservation officials praised the individual who came across the dead waterfowl and reported it through the agency's UTiP hotline. Anyone who spots the illegal killing of animals or suspects a poaching case is encouraged to call 800-662-3337 or report it online through DWR's website.