THE HIGH UINTAS, Utah -- Parts of two elk were stolen from a hunting camp in eastern Utah on October 10, and now the hunters who lost out are sharing the story behind the unusual crime.
Jamie Vigil of Ogden said he was proud of the elk he'd shot the day before in the High Uintas. It had an impressive rack, with four points on one side and five on the other.
"I was fortunate that a bull elk came up almost right to me, and I was able to get a good shot at him," he said.
It was the first elk he'd gotten in 12 years. He and a group of friend have returned to the same hunting camp every fall for more than 20 years. Fellow hunter Sam Gallegos was also successful this year, and the quartered and beheaded elk were placed in the back of Vigil's truck.
But while preparing to leave the camp, Vigil left his truck unattended for a couple hours while going into the hills on horseback one last time, to look for a piece of gear that had been lost the day before.
When he returned, he immediately knew something was wrong.
"I looked down to my truck, I said to my buddy, ‘somebody stole my elk,’" he said.
Vigil said he reported the crime and learned that his situation isn’t exactly commonplace.
“When I called the DWR, they said that’s the first case that’s ever happened," he said.
Vigil said the thief cut the cargo net out of his truck, and ultimately made off with the head of his elk, as well as half of its body. And, perhaps by mistake, the theif took half of the body of Gallego's elk.
The Utah Department of Natural Resources is investigating the theft. See the video above for more of the hunters' comments.