Two Elk Poachers caught in Grand Teton Park
by Grand Teton National Park
October 1, 2006
Grand Teton National Park rangers apprehended two elk poachers Saturday morning, September 23, between North Jenny Lake junction and the Spalding Bay turnoff just off the Teton Park Road. The two men, both residents of Green River, Wyoming, were illegally hunting elk inside the park when observant visitors notified the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at approximately 10:30 a.m. that two men carrying rifles and wearing hunter orange and camouflage clothing were walking near the park road.
Park rangers responded to the scene and found the two men walking along the tree line near the Teton Park Road as they were trying to locate their vehicle. The hunters had planned to return to the elk carcass to retrieve it and had marked the kill site with rock cairns to help relocate it.
One of the men readily admitted to shooting a 6-point bull elk, which was located about one mile off the Teton Park Road, and offered to lead rangers back to the location where he and his hunting partner had field dressed the animal. The illegally killed elk had not been tagged before the hunter started to field dress it. The man was still carrying the hunting tag.
The two men claimed that they thought they were hunting in Area 73 – a hunting zone located on the western slopes of the Teton Range that is generally accessed from Idaho. They had driven from Green River on Friday night and traveled Wyoming Highway 390 before entering the park through the Granite Canyon Entrance Station. They then parked their car on the side of the Teton Park Road to sleep before getting up Saturday morning to hunt elk.
Rangers issued citations for illegal take of wildlife, use of a firearm in a national park, carrying a loaded weapon in a national park, failure to properly tag an animal, and possession of a controlled substance. All charges carry a mandatory appearance in federal court; the court date is set for September 28, 2006.
Rangers also confiscated an elk bugle, two hunting rifles, three knives, and drug paraphernalia. The two men were traveling with a 13-year-old female and a 20-year-old male. The young man was also cited for improper transport of a loaded weapon in a national park.