Saturday, June 23, 2012

NC Wildlife Commission Seeks Information on Wrongful Elk Deaths

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking information from the public to assist in an investigation about the deaths of three elk, found outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Mount Sterling area of Haywood County.

All three elk are believed to have died as the result of gunshot wounds inflicted sometime around May 18th. Forensic tests show a bull elk was mortally wounded by a .22 caliber firearm; a cow elk was shot in the neck with birdshot from a shotgun; while an undetermined gunshot led to the death of a pregnant cow elk.

Anyone with any information is asked to call toll-free 1-800-662-7137, available 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park began an experimental reintroduction of elk in February 2001 and there are now nearly 150 animals. Originally found throughout the southern Appalachians, elk had disappeared from North Carolina by the early 1800s. Elk are listed as a species of special concern in North Carolina.



Jack McCarron said...

Killing Elk - It's so sad to realize that some people are so blind to the beauty and value of our rare wildlife. But I suppose a certain segment of our population is not (yet, at least) aware enough of our connection to nature to stop such destructive behavior.

Maybe just a maturity thing. I'm 71 years old now and a real nature lover. In my youth I still vividly remember taking a pot shot with my BB gun at a kingbird on a wire over my head. I didn't really expect to hit him. With a puff of feathers and the soft plop af the dead bird in front of me, a lump appeared in my throat. I really did LIKE kingbirds with the seldom-seen red patch on their crown, and their distinctive high pitched voice. If I thought I'd miss, then why did I even try to shoot the merrily singing bird? Don't really know, but I still regret it to this day. It's hard to imaging some kid (or kid-like adult) taking a pot shot at a full-grown elk with a little 22 - and killing it!. Perhaps, and hopefully, those people will regret what they did and become nature lovers too. Let's hope.

My applause to those who are working to reintroduce the elk to the Eastern States. I think Pennsylvania has the largest herd in the East now with over 800 individuals. I've visited elk in both PA and Yellowstone. Wonderful majestic animals. Keep up the good work!

Jack McCarron

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Jack - interesting story. I shot a bird as well when I was about 14, and also felt very guilty afterwards.

Look forward to checking out your website!