Elk found shot dead in Round Valley
Someone apparently shot and killed an elk recently, likely in or close to Round Valley, prompting state wildlife officials to investigate the death.
Limited details were available by Tuesday morning. The state Division of Wildlife Resources indicated it had received a report about the carcass. Lucas McTaggart, the division’s conservation officer assigned to the Park City area, said the report was filed on Monday. He planned to visit the site on Tuesday.
McTaggart said elk-hunting season with rifles is underway in the state. A hunter, though, is only allowed to kill an elk with one point on one side of the antlers. Those elk are typically yearling bulls, he said.
A photograph submitted by a Park Meadows man who discovered the dead elk shows the animal had more than one point on the antlers. The photograph shows what appears to be a wound on the animal’s side.
Craig Johnson, who lives in Park Meadows and submitted the photograph, said he was walking his dog Monday night in Round Valley and saw a large number of magpie birds flying over a spot. He then saw the dead animal, saying it had "obviously been shot." The elk was approximately 100 feet off a trail, he said. Johnson described the site as being approximately 600 feet southwest of the National Ability Center parking lot.
"I’m actually fairly enraged," Johnson said, adding he had recently heard the elk bugling. "This elk had, literally, been in my backyard last week."
Johnson is a hunter and has hunted elk for more than 40 years. He said the death of the animal is "really, really offensive." Johnson said he heard a gunshot Saturday afternoon. It was not clear, though, whether the gunshot he heard was the one that took down the elk.
Johnson suspects the elk was left there after the hunter realized the animal was not one that could be killed in the hunt. He called the situation a "wanton disregard for ethical hunting and compliance with law." He also said the person who shot the animal did not consider the safety of the neighborhood.
"Guys do stupid stuff, malicious stuff," he said.
Johnson said he contacted the Park City Police Department Tuesday morning. Information from the Police Department was not immediately available.
City Hall owns large swaths of land in Round Valley. It was not immediately clear whether the animal was found on land owned by City Hall or whether the location is within the city limits.
The Police Department occasionally receives reports of hunters on land inside Park City as well as them parking on Park City streets as they head toward their hunting grounds.
Wildlife is plentiful in the Park City area. Deer are frequently seen across Park City. Other animal sightings, generally less common, include moose, elk, bear and mountain lions.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.