A state wildlife officer said tips from area residents disturbed by teenagers bragging about killing deer led to the roundup last week of seven people involved in mass slaughters near Monticello.
Among the evidence seized by officers is a videotape showing some of the suspects presenting a freshly killed buck.At least one more teenager will be brought in for questioning about the deer killings, to which seven other San Juan County youths confessed to officers during questioning Jan. 3, investigating agent Rudy Musclow said Monday.
Musclow, the area conservation officer for the state Division of Wildlife Resources, also said a Monticello taxidermist accused of buying antlers from the kill may not be charged, because of a "glitch" in the law.
"There's a legal period when you can sell antlers, but it doesn't specify legal or illegal antlers," he said.
Musclow said the taxidermist has been cooperating with officers.
Parents of the seven teenagers who admitted to gunning down at least 19 deer wintering at Hart's Point and east of Monticello during November also have been supportive in the investigation, Musclow said.
No charges have been filed against any of the youths, Musclow said. "We're still finding dead deer, and we don't know how many charges we'll be filing."
Six of the people are juveniles, ages 15 to 17. The seventh is 18 years old and would be charged as an adult.
"There's probably a few more that need to be interviewed. At least one more (may be charged)," Musclow said.
He said the teenagers are accused of unlawful possession of protected wildlife taken out-of-season and "wasting" the kill.
Whole carcasses were left in most cases and there were a lot of blood trails of animals that had been shot but ran off, suggesting to Musclow that the killers were shooting mostly for sport.
"There's lots of deer this time of year. They'd see a group of deer and jump out and shoot at them," he said. "They just thought it'd be a fun thing to do, I think. Not one of the kids could give us a reason why they did it.
"I think some of them just went along for the ride, and others planned it. But if they didn't know what they were getting into the first time, they did the second time."