A poacher shot and killed a bull moose Sunday morning on a private ranch west of Timmerman Hills. He later turned himself in to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Bob Kantor, owner of the ranch south of Bellevue, said the moose had been wandering his property with two other moose—a cow and a calf—in the days before the incident.
He referred to the killing as "horrible," and the poaching as "freakin' stupid."
Fish and Game officials would not identify the poacher pending the filing of charges, which range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Kantor said he will pursue trespass charges.
Kantor's ranch foreman, Justin Jones, said he was on his horse traveling the property Sunday morning when he heard a shot fired. Upon investigation, he found the moose dead near the shore of the Big Wood River but nobody was in sight.
"Just footsteps," he said, adding that it didn't appear the poacher made any attempt to remove and harvest the carcass.
Jones said Fish and Game officers told him the poacher claimed he saw antlers and a dark body and thought it was an elk. Jones added that he had seen the moose on the ranch several times and that it appeared comfortable in its surroundings.
"It was one of those bulls you could get up close to and admire," Jones said.
Said Kantor, "Nobody harasses them on our ranch ... it's just really sad."
While both men were upset about the incident, they commended the poacher for turning himself in to authorities.
"Maybe this can be a good example," Jones said.
Kantor said it was the second poaching-related incident to occur on his ranch in a week—the other involved an elk. He added that hunters have been eyeballing his property this season because it supports a large herd of elk, and he wants to get the message out that trespassing and poaching will not be tolerated on his ranch.
"If anybody is caught on our property, we will pursue trespass charges," he said.