By Rayla Claypool

HAYDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking for the public’s help finding a poacher who killed a moose in the northwestern part of the state. CPW announced on Friday that they found a bull moose shot dead in the Dunckley Flat Tops Area near Hayden last weekend. The person who illegally shot the animal did not attempt to field dress it and left the meat to rot.

District Wildlife Manager Justin Pollock says he thinks an elk hunter mistook the moose for an elk, then panicked when they realized their mistake. Poaching is a serious crime.

“The violation for this crime may include a felony, and felonies change people’s lives,” Pollock said in a release. “I don’t want that, but I do want to ensure justice for our wildlife. It’s not too late to contact me.”

Anyone who saw something suspicious is asked to contact Pollock at 970-629-1247. The incident would have occurred along Austrian Creek in the Dunkley Flat Tops Area about 9 miles southwest of Oak Creek on Oct. 16. Tips can be made anonymously as well through CPW’s Operation Game Thief program by calling 877-265-6648 or emailing game.thief@state.co.us. The program offers rewards to those who help catch poachers.

CPW says poaching takes game and fish away from sportspeople, steals revenue from businesses and taxpayers who benefit from hunting and fishing, and robs everyone of a valuable natural resource that makes Colorado special.