A $3,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of people responsible for illegally hunting and killing four deer in the Somerset County town of Ripley.

The Board of Directors of Operation Game Thief is offering the reward for information leading to whoever killed two adult female deer and fawn that were shot at night and left in an open field.

A fourth deer was shot and removed, according to a release Thursday from Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The illegal hunting happened on Lane Road in Ripley sometime overnight Friday or Saturday. The Maine Warden Service started an investigation when it was notified Monday morning.

All the deer appear to have been shot the same night, MacDonald said. Wardens found parts of the deer they believe was shot and taken home by the poachers.

“Game wardens need the public and sporting community to assist in stopping criminal hunting activity this time of year,” MacDonald said. He said wardens are looking for anyone who heard shots at night “in areas known to be inhabited by wildlife, spotlighting or illuminating fields, illegal tree stand or blinds, baited areas, illegal killing of wildlife by night hunting or exceeding the bag limit.”

Officials ask that anyone who wants to make a report, either regarding the Ripley poaching or any illegal activitity involving Maine wildlife should call Operation Game Thief at 800-253-7887 or 800-ALERTUS. There is also a tip reporting form online at www.maineogt.org. Callers remain anonymous.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

dharlow@centralmaine.com