Boulder Colorado has been embroiled in a rather bizarre investigation into the killing of a bull elk. Reports showed pictures of Boulder police officer Sam Carter allegedly posing with the elk which neighbors considered a local celebrity. They even held a vigil in its honor. Two Boulder police officers are now under investigation by the police department and a criminal investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the shooting. It is now believed that one officer shot the animal while on patrol. Another officer is then believed to have taken it home for the meat.
Boulder police initially denied that the animal was shot. Now an officer claims that the elk appeared injured with a limp and some of its antlers broken off. However, witnesses insist that they saw the animal before the shooting and it appeared to be uninjured.
The failure to report the shooting is on its face problematic since it involved an unreported discharge of a weapon. There was also no notice or consultation given to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The state has a law called Samson’s Law addressing the shooting of trophy animals like the bull elk. The Samson law was passed by the Colorado legislature on April 22, 1998. Like this elk, Samson was a majestic bull elk named and loved by locals. After the poacher who killed Samson was fined only a few hundred dollars, the Samson law was passed and increased fines to $4,000 for a trophy sized antelope up to $25,000 for a bighorn sheep. A bull elk with six-point antlers can result in a fine of up to $10,000. There are also criminal penalties under hunting laws, though the officers could claim to be protecting public safety.
One witness said he found it curious that, after the police officer killed the elk and a sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene, a third man showed up in a pickup truck to remove it. He said that it took the three men nearly an hour and a half to load the 800 pound animal into the pickup truck.
Source: Daily Camera