BILLINGS – Calls to Montana’s anti-poaching hotline helped Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens solve the case of an elk killed and left next to the road north of Shepherd this week.

The elk, with only its head removed, was killed sometime this past weekend and found near CA Road north of Shepherd earlier in the week. FWP issued a press release Tuesday asking people for information that would lead game wardens to the guilty parties.

Game Warden Matt Ladd said several people called the state’s toll-free anti-poaching hot line – 1-800-TIP-MONT – with valuable information. Game wardens followed up on those leads.

Following their investigation, wardens concluded that the elk had been hit by a vehicle, then euthanized by a passer-by, Ladd said. Subsequently a Shepherd man and a teenage boy from Shepherd saw the dead elk and removed the head to take with them.

Ladd said he visited with the man and the boy and recovered the head. Because the two did not kill the elk and because the carcass was unfit to consume, they were not charged with poaching nor waste of game. Instead, Ladd gave written warnings to both for unlawful possession of game parts and littering.

The 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668) program is a toll-free number where people can report violations of fish, wildlife or park regulations. Callers may remain anonymous. It is similar to the well-known Crimestoppers program and offers rewards for information resulting in conviction of persons who abuse Montana’s natural, historic or cultural resources.

Read more from our friends at Outdoor News Daily