News Release

Two Elk Poaching Incidents In Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk in Milner Pass Area
Elk in Milner Pass area of Rocky Mountain National Park

Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park

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News Release Date: September 23, 2018

Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, (970) 586-1363

Contact: Park Information, (970) 586-1206

Yesterday morning, park visitors reported a dead bull elk next to Trail Ridge Road, near the Ute Crossing Trail south of Forest Canyon Overlook in Rocky Mountain National Park. Park rangers investigated and discovered the large bull elk had been poached during the night of Friday, September 21, or early morning Saturday, September 22.  

On Wednesday morning September 12, park rangers discovered a large bull elk had been poached on Trail Ridge Road near Milner Pass. This occurred during the night of Tuesday, September 11, or early morning September 12. This bull’s head had been severed and the carcass remained.

Both cases are under investigation. Park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park urge anyone with information on these incidents or other incidents related to wildlife poaching in the park to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau at 888-653-0009 or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-332-4155. Persons providing information that leads to an arrest may receive a reward. If you have information that could help investigators, or if you were in the locations listed above please contact us. You do not have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know.

The group of elk near Milner Pass in particular had frequented that area. Park rangers are asking for any photographs taken of bull elk near Milner Pass. Please email those to or post on the park’s Facebook page at RockyNPS.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s wildlife is a resource for all to enjoy and protect. Both of these elk were magnificent large bulls. Tens of thousands of park visitors have viewed and photographed these bulls. The individual(s) involved with these egregious poaching incidents have robbed park visitors from this experience and killed two strong bull elk during the rutting season. Please help the park protect wildlife by reporting any suspicious activity.

Last updated: September 23, 2018

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


970 586-1206
The Information Office is open year-round: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily in summer; 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mondays - Fridays and 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturdays - Sundays in winter. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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