Elk poaching near Flagstaff investigated

FLAGSTAFF – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating the poaching of a bull elk, which occurred the evening of December 3. The bull was found north of Route 66 off Rain Valley Road on the east side of Flagstaff near Picture Canyon.

The elk was shot and left to waste in Game Management Unit 11M, where no elk season was going on at the time. Investigating officers believe the elk was shot from a vehicle on Rain Valley Road.

“We are hoping residents in the area remember seeing a vehicle or hearing a gunshot near sundown on December 3 and can provide vehicle or suspect descriptions,” said Game and Fish Wildlife Officer Colby Walton. “We believe someone knows about this poaching and we would like them to come forward with information.”

Anyone with information about the case can call the Department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700 or use the online form at www.azgfd.gov/ogt. Callers should provide case number 17-004775 and may remain anonymous upon request, and all identities will be kept confidential.

A reward of up to $1,500 is being offered in this case for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s).

Information sought in deer poaching case near Bagdad

KINGMAN – The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is seeking information about a recent poaching of a deer near Bagdad, Arizona.

The doe was shot in the neck on or about October 28 and left to waste near Hardy Schell, a stock tank northwest of Windy Ridge in Game Management Unit 18B. AZGFD is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case.

“Evidence was collected at the scene, but help from the public will play a critical role in finding those responsible,” AZGFD Wildlife Manager AJ Lander said. “This is not the act of a hunter. Poaching is a crime. It is stealing wildlife from the citizens of Arizona. It is important for anyone with information to come forward and help Game and Fish bring those responsible to justice.”

An investigation is ongoing, and wildlife officers are seeking information about a 1980’s model two-tone blue and grey Ford Bronco. Two male individuals are believed to be involved.

One man was described as being in his 60s, with black curly hair and an overweight build. This individual was seen wearing black coveralls, similar to what a mechanic would wear, and is believed to be the driver of the Bronco. The other subject was also described as being in his 60s, with a slimmer build and was seen wearing blue jeans and an orange hunter hat.

Officers are asking anyone with information about the person or persons responsible for this crime to come forward.

Anyone with information about the case can call the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700 and provide case number 17-004326 or use the online form at www.azgfd.gov/ogt. Callers’ identities will be kept confidential, and people can report anonymously if needed.

To learn more about Operation Game Thief, visit www.azgfd.gov/ogt.

Reward offered in North Rim deer poaching

FLAGSTAFF – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering up to $8,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of yet another suspected poacher.

The latest case involves a mule deer buck that was found dead near Mount Logan on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The deer was recovered in game management unit 13A off County Road 5 and is suspected to have been killed sometime between November 17 and 19.

A lawful deer hunt started November 17 in unit 13A, but evidence at the scene suggests that the mule deer buck was possibly poached and edible portions of the animal were left to waste.

“This crime was obviously not the behavior of ethical, responsible hunters,” said AZGFD Wildlife Officer Luke Thompson. “We’re asking anyone who may have been in the area or has knowledge of the crime to come forward with information on this case. Poaching is a crime against all Arizonans and will not be tolerated. One tip could be all that’s needed to bring a poacher to justice.”

Anyone with information about the case can call the Department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700 and provide case number 17-004571 or use the online form at www.azgfd.gov/ogt. Callers identities will be kept confidential and people can report anonymously if needed.

Cow elk poaching case being investigated near Strawberry

FLAGSTAFF – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating the poaching of a cow elk, which occurred on November 10 or 11 in southern Game Management Unit 5A about 10 miles north of Strawberry.

The elk was found near U.S. Forest Service Road 308H, which is a closed road near USFS Road 308. Evidence found at the scene indicates the poachers were likely camped off the closed road and they also illegally killed an unidentified non-game bird in the same location. There was no elk season going on at the time the poaching occurred.

Investigating officers also discovered bloody fingerprints on litter found at the scene and possible DNA evidence was recovered as well.

“We are hoping the public may remember seeing a camp on the closed road during this particular weekend and can provide some vehicle or suspect descriptions,” Game and Fish Wildlife Officer Garrett Fabian said. “Getting some information now means we won’t have to wait a long time for lab results to come back to identify the suspects.”

Anyone with information about the case can call the Department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700 or use the online form at www.azgfd.gov/ogt. Callers should provide case number 17-004469, information obtained will remain confidential and callers may remain anonymous upon request.

A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered in this case for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s).

To learn more about Operation Game Thief, visit www.azgfd.gov/ogt.

Public Situational Awareness Class November 29, 2017

FLAGSTAFF – The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office will be holding a public class on Situational Awareness and Response to Active Shooter on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Flagstaff. There is no fee, but pre-registration is required. If you have any questions, please call 928-226-5012.

The purpose of this class is to help citizens understand what they can do to improve their safety during a crisis situation. This is a three-hour class. The first half of the class focuses on how to increase your every day safety through Situational Awareness. The second half of the class teaches a three-step plan known as “Avoid, Deny and Defend” which can be applied to crises such as Active Shooter events. The class includes some video and audio recordings of actual and simulated crises that some may find disturbing. Because of the possibly disturbing audio and video content, attendees must be 18 years of age or older.

For more information, go to http://coconino.az.gov/1571/Citizens-AwarenessActive-Shooter-Class#.

Unexploded Ordnance Discovered and Removed

FLAGSTAFF – On October 31, 2017 at approximately 5:20 pm Coconino County Deputies responded to Fort Tuthill after a citizen reported finding what he believed to be unexploded military ordinance. Upon arrival Deputies determined that an item likely unearthed during recent excavation did in fact appear to be military ordinance.

The Flagstaff Bomb Squad was requested and after determining the item may be a viable explosive requested assistance from an Explosive Bomb Disposal Unit (EOD Unit) assigned to Luke Air Force Base. The EOD Unit agreed to respond during daylight hours. To insure public safety Sheriff’s deputies remained on site throughout the night to prevent inadvertent access to the location.

On November 1, 2017 at approximately 12:45 pm the discovered device was detonated in place by the Bomb Disposal Unit.

Fort Tuthill prior to its current use by Coconino County has served many roles. One of these was as a training site for the 158th Infantry regiment who called the location home from 1929 through December of 1948.

AZGFD offers reward for information about two cases of mule deer poached near Prescott

PRESCOTT – — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is seeking information about two poaching cases that both involve mule deer bucks near Prescott.

In the first instance, a 3×4 mule deer buck was found at a cattle water tank off Old Black Canyon Highway near the Stoneridge Community in Prescott Valley.

The second case involves a small buck that was wrapped in a trash bag and found alongside Iron King Road in Dewey.

AZGFD officials say both animals were killed the week of Oct. 16. The department offers cash rewards for information that leads to an arrest, and up to $1,000 may be awarded for each of these poaching cases.

“We want to know if anyone in the area saw or heard anything that may be related to the poaching of either of these bucks,” said Dennis Fogle, an AZGFD wildlife manager. “Poachers are not hunters — they steal one of Arizona’s most precious natural resources.”

The department’s Operation Game Thief program encourages anyone with information about these cases or the illegal take of wildlife in Arizona to call its 24/7 hotline at (800) 352-0700 or visit www.azgfd.gov/ogt. Callers can remain anonymous upon request. Money for rewards comes from donations, court fines and civil restitution by violators who commit wildlife crimes.

Anyone with information about the poaching of either of these animals should refer to case #17-4100 for the mule deer that was shot in the neck and case #17-004107 for the small buck found in the trash bag.

Sheriff Driscoll selects Bret Axlund as Chief Deputy

Photo Courtesy Coconino County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Jim Driscoll is pleased to announce his selection of Bret Axlund to fill the position of Chief Deputy for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).

Bret has been with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) since January 1996. Bret graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Criminal Justice / Business Administration degree and is a graduate of the Arizona Leadership Program (formerly known as Leadership in Police Organizations). He most recently has been serving as the Page Lieutenant managing Page District Patrol Operations as well as the Page Detention facility. Bret brings with him multi-faceted and versatile experience in Patrol, Investigations, Search and Rescue, Detention, Community Relations, Administration, and Organizational Leadership.

While Bret has been serving as the Lieutenant of the Page Patrol District and Detention Facility since 2013, he also served as a Detention Officer at our Flagstaff facility and worked for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department prior to working for Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Bret was a senior boat patrol officer for the Page Boat Patrol Program for over ten years. He was instrumental in implementing the CCSO Dive Team and serves as the current Dive Team Coordinator. He is very active in community outreach and education programs such as boating safety classes, Drug Impairment Training for Education Professionals (DITEP), Freshman Focus classes, and Citizen Response to Active Shooter. He is a certified Arizona POST General Instructor, DRE/HGN Instructor, DITEP Instructor, Marine Theft Instructor, Boating Education Instructor, and Field Training Officer. He has helped manage grants for the Boat Patrol Program and for Governor’s Office DUI/OUI Programs. He received the 2010 Veterans of Foreign Wars Officer of the Year Award.

Bret’s professionalism and leadership skills are well recognized throughout the region. He is dedicated to creating and strengthening local, state, federal and tribal partnerships and ensuring effective communications. He has a strong historical understanding of our agency and the ability to seek new and innovative solutions as we advance into a new era of policing. His successes throughout his career have been founded on building and maintaining public trust and confidence. Bret has been a mentor to many and is committed to an organizational culture that supports the growth and development of our employees and our mission of Service to Community.

Please help us welcome Chief Deputy Bret Axlund in his new role. His official start date in this capacity will be November 6, 2017.

Desert bighorn sheep poached, left to waste near Yuma

YUMA – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking information about the recent poaching of a desert bighorn sheep that was found near Yuma, Ariz.

A reward of up to $500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the killing of the adult ram through the department’s Operation Game Thief program. The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society is offering an additional reward of up to $500 for a conviction in the case.

The carcass was found floating in the Wellton-Mohawk Canal, where it meets the Gila Main Gravity Canal. Some portions of the hide, legs and head of the animal had been removed, and additional leg quarters were found floating in nearby Fortuna Pond.

Game and Fish officials believe the sheep was shot around the week of Oct. 9 and that the suspects might have been visiting or camping at Fortuna Pond during that timeframe.

“There is no justifiable reason to poach an animal during a closed season and leave it to waste,” said Richard Myers, wildlife manager. “Poachers are not hunters or sportsmen. They are criminals who are stealing from the residents of Arizona.

“Due to the location of the crime scene, a fisherman or an off-highway vehicle user near the area may have seen something or heard something that may assist officers in solving this case.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 352-0700, or visit http://www.azgfd.gov/ogt_form.shtml, and refer to case #17-004025. Callers can remain anonymous upon request.

Two Search and Rescue Missions on San Francisco Peaks Wednesday

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies and its Search and Rescue Unit conducted two search and rescue missions on the San Francisco Peaks Wednesday

About 3:00 p.m. Wednesday October 11, 2017 the Flagstaff 911 Center received a call from a woman who reported she was lost after starting a hike the Peaks. The woman and her three children—ages 2-to-11—from the Phoenix area had parked on the Snowbowl Road and started off on a hike. The woman reported she was currently on a trail, but was confused and did not know the way to return to her vehicle.

Deputies were able to get her location from her call to 911 and had her start walking out. A deputy responded to the area, who walked in on the trail, meeting the woman and assisting her back to her parked car.

About 6:35 p.m. the Flagstaff 911 Center received another call for a rescue on the Peaks. A 19-year old male and his girlfriend from the Phoenix area were hiking the Humphreys Trail when the male injured his ankle and reported a possible fracture.

The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue unit responded and prepared for a liter carry of the injured hiker. The hiker had been able to make his way partial down the trail. Searchers made their way up the trail and made contact with the hiker and assisted him off the mountain. The hiker refused medical treatment.