Los Angeles Times, Kelly Burgess

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has arrested and charged an individual with four wildlife law violations in connection with the alleged illegal killing of a bighorn sheep ram near the southern shore ofCanyon Lake, northeast of Apache Junction.

Though two bighorn sheep were found dead, the male suspect only was charged in connection with poaching one of them. More charges may be pending, based on evidence seized at the suspect’s home and the ongoing investigation.

The arrest was made after the department received information through its Operation Game Thief hot line, which the public could use to report wildlife violations confidentially.

Operation Game Thief program manager Ken Dinquel said it was gratifying to have had the support of hunters and members of the public in helping report these types of cases.

“Although hunters pay for the largest share of wildlife conservation through license and tag fees, poaching adversely affects more than just hunters,” said Dinquel. “Poachers steal from everyone because wildlife is managed in the public trust for all citizens to enjoy.”

Multiple tips came in after the department issued a news release May 4 about the two dead bighorn sheep rams, offering a reward of up to $8,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. TheArizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society also offered a reward of up to $1,000 per sheep for information leading to a conviction in either case, and the Arizona Bowhunters Assn. added an additional $1,000 reward for a conviction.