ST. ALBANS — Police and game wardens are seeking answers in a poaching case that left two deer dead Monday evening.

Officials said that, with much poaching going unreported, it is difficult to say whether the activity is on the rise in Maine.

The two deer were killed on private property in a field alongside Snow Road, according to Doug Rafferty, spokesman of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“It’s just another case of someone stealing from those who want to do it legally,” Rafferty said.

A licensed hunter discovered the body of a large adult doe Tuesday morning and notified authorities, triggering an investigation by the warden service and Maine State Police.

Game Warden Jonathan Parker, the lead investigator, estimates that the deer were killed sometime after 7 p.m. Monday.

Drag marks made by the body of a second deer were discovered leading from the kill site to the road, Rafferty said.

The nonprofit group estimates as many animals are taken illegally as legally in the state, reducing the number of licenses available for those who hunt and fish legally.

He asked anyone with information about the incident to call police at 800-452-4664 or the 24-hour anonymous tipline operated by Operation Game Thief, a nonprofit organization that works with the wildlife service, at 800-253-7887 (800-ALERT-US).

Rafferty said that the anonymous tipline, begun in 1989, is “coming into its own” as more outdoorsmen become aware of its existence.

More than 8,000 poaching tips have been made to the line, resulting in more than 2,500 convictions and more than $70,000 in rewards paid to those whose tips resulted in legal actions against poachers, according to the group’s website.

Poaching penalties include the loss of licenses and guns, as well as fines and jail time, according to Rafferty.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287
mhhetling@centralmaine.com