Operation Game Thief open in javelina case; two arrested in prior deer poaching case

Two headless javenlias were found illegally shot alongside a trail in Cochise County and up to $3, 000 could be yours for helping the Arizona Game and Fish Department nab responsible poachers, according to a news release from the agency.

Javelina get no respect/file photo

The javelina carcasses were found Feb. 24 near St. David, along East Touchstone Trail south of Interstate 10. Although the javelina had been field dressed, they had no game tags attached. Both appeared freshly killed by gunshot wounds through their shoulders. Both were missing their heads, which Sawyer surmises went home to be trophies.

“Evidence at the scene suggests that they may have been left at that location by two individuals who drove there from the intersection of Sybil Road and East Touchstone Trail, then returned by the same route,” the release said.

The reward money includes $2,500 from The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust as well as $500 from AZ Game and Fish.

“Poachers are thieves who steal wildlife from the citizens of Arizona. No true hunter would leave game by the side of the road to waste,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of the AGFD office in Tucson. “We appreciate greatly the Humane Society offering a generous reward in this case as part of their ongoing involvement in helping us solve wildlife crimes.”

Game and Fish urges anyone with information to call the toll-free Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700 or visit www.azgfd.gov/thief.

You may remain anonymous.

While the headless javelina case remains open, Operation Game Thief recently worked in nabbing two suspects in connection with the illegal killing of a mule deer doe just south of Seligman back in October, another AZGFD release reports.

The doe had been shot in the neck and left to rot. The informant received half of the $1,000 reward from Game and Fish when two men were arrested. The other half gets paid by the Mule Deer Foundation upon conviction.

Winslow’s Mario Avalos, 58, was slapped with $1,200 in fines after pleading guilty to taking of the wrong sex, possession of unlawfully taken big game and waste of game meat.

Seligman’s Hugh Campbell, 22, was cited for the same charges. His case is pending.

Both guys could also lose their hunting and fishing privileges for up to five years and civil sanctions from the Game and Fish Commission that could result in penalties of at least $1,500.

This post originally appeared March 9, 2010 on the blog Sawyer Says: Animal Talk on TucsonCitizen.com.