SULPHURDALE, Beaver County — Utah conservation officers are asking for the public's help as they investigate who illegally killed a trophy-sized pronghorn buck and left it for waste in southern Utah.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources law enforcement officers said Thursday the buck's carcass was found west of Sulphurdale. It's believed that the buck was shot and killed with a rifle the same weekend the state's big game archery hunt started, which began on Aug. 21. The state didn't allow for any hunting of pronghorn bucks with rifles until the hunt with any legal weapon began on Sept. 1, according to the agency's 2021 guidebook.
The division said buck's horns measured at more than 14 inches in length, which means it was a trophy animal.
"It is a shame that a buck as spectacular as this one has been taken from law-abiding hunters who were excited to pursue it legally," said DWR conservation officer Jeremy Butler, in a statement Thursday.
Poaching in Utah ranges in severity based on the animal killed and whether or not it's considered a trophy animal. Utah law states a person can face a third-degree felony if "a trophy animal was captured, injured or destroyed." State law also lists that $2,000 is the minimum restitution penalty for illegally killing a trophy pronghorn — $1,600 more than pronghorn not considered trophy-sized.
Anyone convicted of poaching can face other penalties such as having their fishing or hunting privileges suspended not only in Utah but with all other members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which includes every other U.S. state except for Hawaii, according to the DWR.
Division officials said more than 1,000 animals valued at more than $380,000 were illegally killed in Utah last year.
Anyone who may have information about the Beaver County case or any other poaching case is encouraged to call the state's UTiP Hotline at 800-662-3337, texting 847411 or online, through the division's website.