Two elk stolen from hunters' camp


Large bull elk
Photo credit: Getty Images

Two hunters were shocked when they discovered that the two elk they had shot were stolen from their hunting camp in eastern Utah on October 10.

Jamie Vigil and Sam Gallegos were on the last day of their hunt near Lyman Lake,  just south of the Wyoming border, when they each shot and killed an elk in the span of an hour.

For Vigil, the kill was especially sweet. It was the first elk he had taken in 12 years. The elk had four points on one side and five on the other.

“It was fortunate that a bull elk came up almost right to me, and I was able to get a good shot at him,” Vigil said.

The men had been returning to the same hunting camp every fall for more than 20 years with some of their friends.

“We were contemplating not even coming back to the same spot next year,” commented Tracy Jones, another member of the hunting group.

So after Vigil and Gallegos found success, the group was ecstatic.

“After two in an hour, you can imagine we were pretty excited,” Jones continued.

The excitement would not last long. The next morning, the elk were gone.

Vigil and Gallegos had quartered and beheaded the elk, placing the bulls in the back of Vigil’s truck. While preparing to leave the camp, however, the hunters left the truck unattended for a couple hours while going into the hills on horseback to search for a piece of gear that had been lost the day before.

When they returned, they instantly knew something was wrong.

“I looked down to my truck, I said to my buddy, ‘somebody stole my elk,’” Vigil recalls.

The thief had cut right through the cargo net, making off with the head of Vigil’s elk as well as half of its body. The thief also stole half of Gallego’s elk’s body.

The hunters immediately reported the crime and learned that the situation is indeed quite rare.

“When I called the DWR, they said that’s the first case that’s ever happened,” Vigil said.

Regardless of its frequency, it is a blatant disregard for the time and effort it takes for a hunter to harvest an animal. Vigil says he is furious that a dishonest hunter would swoop in and steal what he and his friends had worked and waited so long for.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating the theft. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call DWR law enforcement at 1-800-662-3337, email or submit a tip online at


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