Department officers investigating the incident said the does were not field dressed, and the meat was left to rot. The three deer carcasses were discovered Wednesday, June 27, off Forest Service Road 441, known as the O-Bar-O Road, in the Lincoln National Forest.
Department officers believe the deer were shot sometime during the previous day or night. The investigation is ongoing.
“These three does probably had fawns about a month ago and would have been in the process of raising them,” said Col. Robert Griego of Game and Fish. “Because of the senseless killing of their mothers, these fawns would be too young to survive on their own and are now presumed to be dead.”
The loss of these does, and likely their orphaned fawns, puts additional stress on an already struggling deer population and hampers management efforts.
“Poachers steal wildlife from the public, often committing their crimes in remote areas,” Griego said. “Many of these crimes go unreported, but if anyone saw something unusual in this area, we would sure appreciate any information they have.”
Anyone with information that can help in this investigation is urged to call Operation Game Thief, a wildlife tip hotline at 1-800-432-GAME (4263), or Ruidoso District Wildlife Officer Mark Holguin at (505) 670-7335.
Operation Game Thief is offering a $500 reward for information leading to a citation or an arrest and callers may remain anonymous.
About The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF)
The NMDGF’s mission is to provide and maintain an adequate supply of wildlife and fish within the state of New Mexico by utilizing a flexible management system that provides for their protection, propagation, regulation, conservation, and for their use as public recreation and food supply.