Moose killed and abandoned.
Moose Killed and Abandoned
Submitted by Senior Conservation Officer Randy Sullivan
On September 19 at 7:30 a.m., I received a call that a man had fired two gunshots, then hiked up the hill carrying his bow. It was archery season in Caribou County, so I figured something wasn’t right. I suspected the shooter shot a big game animal and was planning to pass it off as an archery harvest. I hurried over to Swenson Valley road in the Soda Hills, only to discover the shooter was gone. I met with the caller and was given a vehicle description and told the shooter had returned to his truck and continued up the canyon. I followed the fresh truck tracks down Idaho Ranch Canyon Road, where I observed the vehicle coming out of a gate at the bottom.
I contacted the driver, Ross Loertscher, who said he was hunting elk and moose and he really wanted to take a moose with his bow. I checked Loertscher’s hunting license and tags and asked him what he was shooting his rifle at. He said he shot at a coyote. I was instantly suspicious because big game hunters don’t usually risk scaring off big game by shooting at a coyote. We parted ways and I returned to Swenson Valley to inspect the area where the shots were fired.
I searched for over an hour without finding anything suspicious when the caller showed up and directed me to where the shooter had walked uphill with his bow. Within five minutes we found the target. A freshly shot bull moose, with two shots through the chest, lay dead at our feet.
Later in the day, fellow officer Tyler Peterson and I interviewed Ross Loertscher. He admitted to shooting the moose but he left it for fear it was on private land where he didn’t have permission to hunt. Loertscher later learned it was public land and returned to the area only to observe a different bull moose, and he left again, thinking he had missed the bull he shot at.
Loertscher pled guilty for failing to retrieve the bull moose, and obstructing and delaying an investigation. He lost his hunting privileges for six months, lost his once in a lifetime Idaho bull moose tag and was ordered to pay $2,145 in fines, civil penalties, and meat processing. The head and antlers were forfeited to Idaho Fish and Game, and we were able to salvage the meat for donation to a local food bank.
This case and so many more are not always made through routine patrol. They are made by concerned citizens “Making The Call” to Citizens Against Poaching. So if you see something that is not right, please call 1-800-632-5999. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a monetary reward.
Idaho is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which means that if an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license is revoked by any of the 42 member states; all the remaining states will revoke the same license or privilege for the same time period. Anyone with information about a wildlife violation are encouraged to “Make the Call” and contact the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous, and they may be eligible for a reward.
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