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Utah's conservation officers work to protect our wildlife heritage on behalf of ethical sportsmen and others who value wildlife. These dispatches represent a fraction of the ongoing efforts to protect your wildlife resources.

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Utah man convicted of poaching trophy elk

The trophy bull elk Anderson poached back in 2012.

EMERY COUNTY — On April 4, 2014, a jury convicted Robert Mathew Anderson, a Utah resident, of poaching a trophy bull elk. The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred on September 15, 2012.

Anderson was hunting with his father who had been issued a Manti any weapon limited entry bull permit. On the opening day, Anderson — without a valid permit — shot a six point bull elk, and subsequently used his father's permit to tag the elk.

Shortly after the event, wildlife officers were notified by two witnesses who had knowledge of the offense. Without question, this conviction wouldn't have happened without the willingness of the two two people who became involved and notified officials. Wildlife officers were able to use the initial information to develop grounds for executing search warrants for the recovery of the elk and weapon used in the taking of the bull.

In 1996, the Utah State Legislature, along with support from the sportsman groups, passed minimum restitution values on trophy animals. The minimum restitution of a trophy bull elk is currently set at $8,000.00. Most sportsmen recognize the investment the state has in managing trophy big game.

On June 3, 2014, Anderson was sentenced in the 7th District Court in Castle Dale. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 36 months probation. He was also ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution to the Help Stop Poaching fund. Anderson will face big game license suspension for a period of up to 14 years for the killing of the elk.

It takes the dedication of many people to make a prosecution of this nature successful. The Division appreciates the sportsmen who made the difficult decision to do the right thing. We'd also like to thank the professional dedication of the Emery County attorney's office, and the service of the citizen jurors who rendered a verdict.

Citizens who come forward with information regarding crimes are the key to any successful law enforcement program. Those with information regarding wildlife offenses are encouraged to contact the UTIP hotline at 1-800-662-3337 or any Division office.

  • JD Abbott

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