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Bighorn Sheep Poacher Sought in Arizona

October 16, 2008.

From the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a poacher that killed a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram on Oct. 10 in the Three Forks area of Game Management Unit 1, west of Alpine, in eastern Arizona.

“The poacher killed an eight-year-old ram feeding on a slope above Forest Road 249 and left it to waste,” says Bruce Sitko, public information officer for the Arizona Game and Fish Pinetop office.

Sitko says this crime is further compounded by the fact that this ram was part of the Black River bighorn herd, which, although having a stable population, has not been increasing in number for the last several years.

“Removing it from the breeding population obviously affects the herd’s potential to produce future offspring, as well as impairing the department’s ability to offer hunt permits for bighorns in the area, which are highly sought after by sportsmen,” notes Sitko.

The department received more than 400 applications for the single permit that was authorized in this area last fall.

To report information on this incident, or any Game and Fish violation, call the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 352-0700. Caller identities may remain confidential upon request. Callers are eligible to receive a reward for information leading to the conviction of the violator in this bighorn poaching case of up to $2,000 from the department, with an additional $1,000 being provided by the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society. Information may also be reported directly to the Arizona Game and Fish Pinetop office or by calling (928) 367-4281.

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