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.