Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering rewards for information in four new poaching cases in Big Timber, Hamilton and north of Billings.
The agency on Tuesday announced someone killed a large bull elk on private property near Big Timber and removed and took its head on the first or second of the month. The landowner later discovered the carcass.
Also this weekend east of Hamilton, two mule deer bucks were shot and left just off the road on private property near the end of Charley’s Gulch Road. Only a small portion of meat from one of the deer was taken.
Late last month someone illegally killed a buck pronghorn antelope, removed its head and left the carcass in a coulee north of Billings. FWP game wardens say the carcass was found on public lands but add the animal may have been killed elsewhere and dumped after the head was removed.
Robert Gibson with FWP says killing wildlife without a permit violates the state constitution.
"They're stealing from the people of Montana and they need to be brought to justice," Gibson says.
He says cases of illegal trophy harvests seem to be up this year but he’s unsure whether that’s due to an increase in poaching or if the public is more aware of the issue and reporting it more.
Gibson says no arrests have been made or charges filed over a slew of poaching cases in southern Montana this fall. But he adds FWP has received tips and is making progress.
Information about the most recent cases can be reported directly to rangers or by calling 1-800-TIP-MONT. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a conviction.