FWP wardens are trying to figure out who shot a bull moose near Schwartz Creek Road, roughly 25 miles southeast of Missoula over the weekend. Investigators say the poaching occurred either Saturday night or Sunday morning, and the moose was shot once.
The perpetrator may have shot the moose from a car right on the road, and no meat or parts were taken from the moose.
The animal is estimated to be roughly 3 to 4 years old, and investigators say the shooter may have either shot the animal as a “thrill kill,” or simply mistook the moose for a different species and didn’t notify FWP.
“Moose will stand still by the side of the road and present a pretty easy target,” said FWP Warden Captain Joe Jaquith. “More often, deer and elk will run off as quick as they can. It just seems like moose get hammered this way [more] than a lot of other species. It’s unfortunate, because there are not that many moose in western Montana. “
Wardens get very busy with poaching investigations after big game hunting season kicks off, though poaching happens throughout the year. According to FWP, from 2000 to 2009, 60 moose were poached. That’s compared to 1,379 mule deer, 786 whitetail deer and 1,224 elk.
Folks with information on any poached animal in Montana are asked to call FWP's tip line at 1-800-TIP-MONT.