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Douglas County property owner raising concerns after poacher trespasses, kills elk

No Trespassing sign
Posted at 6:12 PM, Sep 20, 2022

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — On nearly 500 acres of wildland, Deanne Meyer and her family have a refuge.

"I'm the luckiest person alive. I really am," she said Tuesday.

Their decades-old property off State Highway 67 in Sedalia is home to all kinds of wildlife, including a herd of elk.

"It's a key habitat and a calving ground and also the meeting ground for the elk here," Meyer said.

But lately, despite her best efforts to protect the elk that live there, a few have become victims of suspected poachers.

"Things like this, when they happen ... it's very devastating," she said.

Last week, Meyer says a poacher trespassed on her property and killed an elk. Its carcass and hooves are all that remain today.

"They drug it down to where they could finish it off and drag the meat out without being seen," she said.

Around the same time, another suspected poacher shot an elk nearby, which then ran onto her property and likely had a slow death.

"There are ethical hunters out there, I know that, and ... to have this happen gives everybody a really bad name, and it gives them a really bad reputation," Meyer said.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there were just over 2,000 violations between 2009 and 2019 for hunting without permission on private property. Poachers often face other violations, which can stack up to thousands of dollars in fines.

"If you are killing animals outside of season and harvesting them outside of the management system, you're stealing from the citizens of Colorado and depleting our natural resources that we all love and care for," CPW spokesperson Joey Livingston said.

For Meyer, her concern lies in their disregard for the law and for the animals they kill.

"It's really upsetting when we see people breaking and violating the law and also impacting the ability of this herd to feel like this is a safe place for them to be and to be able to be reproducing and breeding and having a safe place to go," she said.

For now, she plans to install more cameras around her property to increase surveillance. She's learned it's hard to come after poachers without any evidence.

"This is just continuing to happen, and it really needs to stop," she said.

To report a poacher, you can contact CPW at 1-877-COLO-OGT or via email. As part of Operation Game Thief, callers can receive rewards up to $1,000 for any information that leads to an arrest or a citation.