The state Division of Wildlife Resources says it had dealt with more than 100 large animal poaching cases since Aug. 1.

With hunting season well underway, authorities say poaching has been a major concern, which can hurt population numbers and result in fewer tags next season.

“Individuals will launder tags, tag deer that they didn’t actually legally harvest, or fail to have a tag when they’re out hunting,” Conservation Officer Joshua Carver of the Division of Wildlife Resources said.

“It’s a stolen opportunity.”

Carver said deer are the most commonly poached animal, and if anyone is caught in Utah illegally harvesting one 24 inches or bigger, they’d be facing a third-degree felony and fines up to $8,000.

DWR officials are asking for the public’s help in a recent case of an illegally killed bull elk shot along State Route 12 west of Escalante in southern Utah in late October.

Authorities believe the individual or individuals shot the elk from the highway and make a U-turn to flee.

“There is no season for this elk right now, so there would be no reason to shoot it,” Carver said.

“It was shot and left, so therefore the meat was wasted, and the antlers weren’t even attempted to be removed.”

DWR says the public is instrumental in catching poachers, and the most helpful thing to do is report the license plate number and provide a description of what you saw and where you saw it.

If you’re witnessing what you suspect is an active or in-progress wildlife violation, please call 800-662-3337.

Story provided by our news partners at ABC 4 News.

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