Wildlife That Entered Rulon Jones' Ranch Must be Killed

Wildlife That Entered Rulon Jones' Ranch Must be Killed

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EDEN, Utah (AP) -- Wildlife that wandered into the private hunting preserve of former Denver Broncos lineman Rulon Jones will have to be killed, the state Division of Wildlife Resources said.

Two moose, one elk and 23 deer will be killed after crossing a snow bridge into Jones' Broadmouth Canyon Ranch in Ogden Valley and coming in contact with Jones' elk.

Robert Hasenyager, northern regional manager of DWR, is asking the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which oversees Utah elk ranches, to require Jones to pay for the lost animals.

State law puts the value of deer, elk and moose at $400, $750 and $1,000, respectively.

Terry Menlove, chief livestock inspector for UDAF, contends the killings are unnecessary.

"We don't think it's necessary, and we have expressed that to them (DWR)," Menlove said.

"In a work-together manner, we are hoping they will revisit that policy (in the future)," Menlove said.

Alan Clark, deputy director of DWR, said a plan being developed to standardize U.S. Department of Agriculture testing requirements may be what it takes to get the policy changed.

"When we become sure that none of those animals are diseased, then we'll relax the policy that says that animals that go in come out dead," Clark said.

Nearly every elk that dies on Jones' ranch is tested for chronic wasting disease, and none have tested positive.

The disease has not been found in hunter-killed wildlife in this northern part of the state, though it has in some eastern and central parts of the state.

"I think the risk goes both ways equally. ... The chances are slim either way, but we want to be certain," Menlove said.

When the animals are killed, they will be tested for CWD.

"If one of those elk or deer test positive, he (Jones) stands a strong possibility of having ... to depopulate his entire herd," Menlove said.

Permits to hunt Jones' largest elk sell for $5,900 or more.

Meanwhile, there is still an over-the-fence access in the upper portion of Jones' ranch, DWR said.

Jones has added a temporary 8-foot addition onto the top of much of the bridged fence, but a short stretch in the upper portion of the ranch was still spanned by snow when the area was flown on March 11.

The animals were concentrated much lower in the pasture, Menlove said, and there was no evidence that they had been moving in and out.

Four domestic elk were still loose in the upper portion, however, and there is a slim chance that animals could move in and out of the ranch.

"Until such a time as it (the fence) is secured," Hasenyager said, "we're going to have some concerns."

Jones is required to make permanent improvements to the fence before his elk can return to the pasture.

He also could be fined for failing to maintain a secure enclosure at up to $5,000 per offense.

"There will be fines assessed," Menlove said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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