Poached Buck Left Behind At Springs Dog Park; Reward Out For Information On Suspect

At a popular west side park, a gruesome discovery was made in the bushes.

The remains of a buck, hidden under leaves, body intact--head gone.

"The beheading is horrifying and it's really disturbing," Laura Arnold told 11 News.

Arnold is among the many Springs residents who visits the Bear Creek Dog Park on a regular basis. The buck was found at the park late Wednesday night.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials suspect that the deer was shot with archery equipment. The suspect may have then taken the head as a trophy.

"Anyone who may have seen someone at the park with archery equipment or a neighbor with a recently acquired deer head should give us a call," District Wildlife Manager Dan Skinner said. "During this time of year deer would still have velvet on their antlers so that would be another clue to look for."

The suspect potentially faces felony charges.

"This is not hunting, not responsible management of wildlife," Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Abbie Walls said. "This is stealing wildlife from everyone."

Dozens of dogs frolic around the 25-acre park every day. The county website boasts that the park gives dogs a "unique opportunity" to exercise off-leash while splashing around in creek waters and running through fields and wooded areas. Dogs are given the freedom to roam and play; discoveries like the one Wednesday have given owners concern for their pets' safety.

"I don't want my dog to find it...what if he's, like, munching on it? I don't want him to get diseases," Liz Benton said.

There is a reward out for information that leads to the suspect. Call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-227-5200 or Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Tips can also be emailed to game.thief@state.co.us.