Deer shot illegally in Aspen

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State wildlife officials are offering a reward leading to the prosecution of the person or people who illegally shot and killed a mule deer buck on Aspen Mountain in recent days.

The animal was found on the ski area by Aspen Skiing Co. personnel, who notified the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said Kevin Wright, the division's district wildlife manager for the Aspen area.

"We don't know for sure when it was shot. I think it's fairly recent - probably last weekend," Wright said Wednesday.

The antlers were removed from the mature buck, but they have been recovered by the DOW, Wright said. He declined to offer additional information, as the incident is under investigation.

The meat from the animal was not taken.

"They just shot it and left it," Wright said.

Anyone who provides information that leads to the prosecution of the individual or individuals responsible for killing the buck is eligible for a cash reward of as much as $500 from Operation Game Thief, Wright said.

A report can be made anonymously by calling Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648 or, from a Verizon cell phone, by calling #OGT.

The person responsible for the shooting could face a slew of charges and penalties, as the deer was shot out of season and was simply left, Wright said. The elk rifle season began last weekend in Colorado, but the combined deer/elk rifle season does not start until this weekend.

Willful destruction of wildlife is a class 5 felony that carries potential penalties of a $1,000 to $10,000 fine and/or six months to six years imprisonment, plus the suspension of one's hunting and fishing privileges for one year to life, according to Wright.

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