The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating the illegal killing of seven cougars and 15 bobcats in the Mount Dutton area northeast of Panguitch, Utah in Garfield County. Wildlife officers are asking for the public's help in determining who is responsible. The investigation was the result of complaints from the public about the use of illegal snares.
To date, officers have seized 65 illegal snares while conducting the investigation. The illegally taken cougars and bobcats were found dead in the snares. In addition to the cougars and bobcats, officers documented the killing of two foxes and one hunting hound which were also caught in the illegal snares. The investigating officers utilized the efforts of a group of 14 sportsmen to locate and remove 21 of the illegal snares and six of the illegally taken bobcats during July 2001.
The snares, constructed of high-strength, small-diameter cable, are capable of capturing and killing an animal for years after they are set. The illegal snares recovered during the investigation appear to have been set and intentionally abandoned to capture and kill cougars. Snares are not a legal method for the sport harvest of cougars in Utah. Snares are a legal trapping device for furbearers and coyotes in Utah when used in accordance with the furbearer harvest regulations. Snares may only be used when they are permanently marked with the trapper's identification number and when they are checked every 48 hours.
Wildlife officers have been investigating this case since 1998. It has proven very difficult to apprehend those responsible. Wildlife officers hope that an appeal to the public may provide new evidence to positively identify and apprehend those responsible.
Wildlife officers are working closely with the Garfield County attorney to develop evidence for prosecution.
The investigating officers welcome any additional information that would help in the investigation or any information about similar snares found in the area during the fall.
To report wildlife violations or information about this case, please call the Help Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-800-662-3338, or write to the Help Stop Poaching Email address: GWARDEN@state.ut.us. Those who report information are not required to provide their name.
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