mule deer stockimage

HAMILTON – A state game warden says he’ll need help from the public to track down someone who shot two deer and left them to rot Sunday evening.

The deer were shot about a mile past the Rye Creek Lodge, just off Rye Creek Road southeast of Darby.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Lou Royce said the doe and yearling were found Monday.

“Someone shot them from the road,” Royce said. “Both were killed by a single gunshot. They were left to rot.”

“Unfortunately, we have these happen all the time,” he said. “People shoot something for the thrill of it.”

The deer appear to have been killed by a high-caliber rifle that would be commonly used by deer or elk hunters.

Royce said this particular incident was discouraging considering the fact that mule deer numbers are down in Hunting District 270.

“We are trying to build the population up in 270 right now,” Royce said. “You can’t legally shoot a mule deer doe. This was obviously a productive doe since she had a yearling with her.”

At this point, Royce said wardens don’t have much to go on.

“We really don’t a have a description of the vehicle or anything like that,” he said. “We are totally relying on the public to help us out on this one.”

Anyone with information can call the TIP-MONT hotline at 1-800-847-6668. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a conviction.

It’s been a fairly busy hunting season, with a lot of people harvesting game animals legally, Royce said.

“We’ve had a lot of small things happen,” he said. “There are a lot of people shooting spike elk this year. And we’ve had a few mule deer shot in HD 270 without a license.”

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