Utah cites hunters for killing wrong animals

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Every year, multiple hunters are cited for killing the wrong animal in Utah during cow elk season. While many of the incidents end up being more of a case of misidentification than poaching, it is still happening on an annual basis. In fact, several recent investigations conducted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) found that hunters shot either the wrong sex or wrong species and some are “so excited to see an animal that they make poor shooting decisions,” according to the agency

Here are some recent examples during the 2022-23 antlerless elk hunts, which began in August and runs through Jan. 31:

  • Weber County: A man shot a moose instead of an elk during his hunt.
  • Emery County: A hunter shot a branch-antlered bull elk, thinking it was a spike elk. Then he also shot a spike elk, thinking it was the same elk. He was charged with a misdemeanor.
  • Sevier County: Officers investigated two cases where a hunter shot too many elk. Misdemeanor citations were issued in both cases.
  • Iron County: Officers investigated a case where a hunter shot a cow elk in the wrong area. A misdemeanor citation was issued.
  • Northeastern Utah: Officers investigated two cases where a hunter killed too many elk, five cases where a bull elk was killed instead of a cow elk, two cases where a moose was shot instead of an elk and one case where a hunter-harvested an elk in the wrong hunting unit. Citations were issued in each of the cases.

As Utah’s antlerless season wraps up this month, UDWR wants to remind hunters to take the proper steps and precautions to correctly identify that the animal they are shooting is legal and not a case of mistaken identity.

Tips from UDWR

Regardless of whether it was simply an accident, if you shoot the wrong animal or multiple animals, you can still be charged with poaching.


Kristen A. Schmitt

Kristen A. Schmitt

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