NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Park rangers at Bandelier National Monument are looking for the person or people responsible for poaching two animals over the weekend.
“The national park inside Bandelier National Monument, we don’t allow hunting,” Chief Ranger Dennis Milligan explained.
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But, over the weekend, U.S. park rangers said they found an elk killed illegally near Forest Road 289 and Highway 4; and the remains of a mule deer, also poached, had been dumped on Los Alamos National Lab land on what’s known as the Knife Edge Trailhead.
“People come here to hike and enjoy the environment so it’s not an area where people are prepared to encounter people hunting inside the park,” Milligan stated.
It’s an ongoing problem as Milligan adds they see about two poaching incidents inside the park a year, so they’re reminding people hunting is allowed in surrounding areas.
“They do allow hunting outside the park so in the general area, hunting is a good thing. It helps manage populations and this population moves in and outside the park,” he explained.
Bandelier is offering up to $3,500 for tips that could lead to an arrest. Officials say it’s unclear if the two incidents could be related but the investigation is ongoing.
Poaching carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines. Anyone with information on this case is urged to call Bandelier’s tip line at 505-709-0077.