Associated Press

ELY — State game wardens are looking for the poachers who illegally shot at least six elk in east-central Nevada and left three of the animals there to rot.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife is seeking the public’s help in the investigation into the killing of the four cows and two calves in two different locations in northern Lincoln County.

“We’re out of leads on this, so any help we can get is appreciated,” NDOW spokesman Edwin Lyngar said Wednesday.

Chief Game Warden Tyler Turnipseed said the sites are only about 10 miles apart but he doesn’t believe the cases are connected.

Almost all the meat had been left to rot on two cows and a calf found earlier this month on the west side of Mount Grafton near the White Pine County line about 40 miles south of Ely, he said. The first three elk carcasses were discovered on Oct. 5 near Patterson Pass about 10 miles further south.

“This level of senseless wildlife crime is unacceptable,” Turnipseed said Wednesday. “People wait years for the opportunity to hunt and harvest an elk, and it is unconscionable that some thoughtless person would shoot so many of these animals and leave them to rot.”

Illegally killing a big game animal is a felony in Nevada with fines ranging from $250 to $30,000 and can also include one to four years in prison and additional civil penalties. Leaving the animals to waste is a separate crime on top of the killing, punishable by up to a year in jail and $500 fine.

“There were many people hunting in this area, so we think someone may have seen something that might help us catch these criminals,” Turnipseed said in a statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-992-3030.