IDFG Offers Reward For Would-Be Cat Poachers
Wednesday, July 4, 2001 - 12:00 AM MDT
St. Anthony - Someone tried to poach a cat in the Targhee National Forest near Sand Creek Wildlife Management Area last weekend, but the cat in question wasn't the four-legged feline mountain lion type, but a heavy machinery D4 Caterpillar bulldozer owned by IDFG! The same individuals also shot over one hundred bullets into a nearby livestock watering tank owned by St. Anthony rancher Lee Miller. According to Regional Habitat Biologist Dennis Aslett who manages Sand Creek Wildlife Management Area, "The Cat was being used for fence work along the boundary between the management area and the Targhee National Forest when vandals struck sometime between the evening of Friday, June 29 and the morning of Monday, July 2." While the term "vandals" may be applicable, the total costs of the damages incurred were high enough that felony charges will be issued if the individuals responsible are apprehended! According to Aslett, "They first tried to hot-wire the bulldozer, but were unsuccessful, so they proceeded to shoot up the thing." The gas filter, oil filter, and air filter were all shot with a .22 caliber firearm. The fuel tank was shot twice, but fortunately it was thick enough to resist penetration. While shooting the bulldozer was bad enough, the would-be bulldozer thieves took out their frustration on the trailer that hauls the bulldozer to work sites. All eight tires of the trailer were shot and had to be replaced at a cost of $1,000. During the same time period, in addition to the attempted destruction of the unmarked bulldozer, the apparently same vandals also used .22 caliber firearms to shoot over 100 holes in a livestock watering tank at Bear Wallow Springs. According to rancher Lee Miller of St. Anthony, "The tank was shot up so bad that I had to turn off the flow at the spring box so I can try and patch it up." The two vandalism sites were within a half mile of each other and located on July Creek Road, which is forest road number 303. IDFG employees were fortunately able to repair the bulldozer enough so that it could be loaded onto the newly shod trailer and taken back into St. Anthony for further inspection and repairs. The cover to the bulldozer ignition wires which was handled by the vandals was taken by the Fremont County Sheriff's Office and is being dusted for fingerprints. Because of the high dollar figure of the damages incurred, the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) Program is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for this wanton destruction of both State and personal property. Anyone with information that might prove valuable to this case can contact the CAP Hotline at 1-800-632-5999. All information is kept confidential and sources may remain anonymous.