North Carolina man confesses to poaching elk in Smokies

Monday, November 16, 2009

A North Carolina man is facing charges for allegedly shooting an elk inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Last Friday rangers in the Smokies found a bull elk carcass lying along the edge of a pasture in the Cataloochee area.

A lead on a vehicle led investigators to Granville County, North Carolina. A NPS Special Agent traveled to the county and located the suspect at his home. The individual has reportedly confessed to poaching the elk, according to Park spokesman, Bob Miller.

The suspect's name isn't being released, pending the filing of charges. Poaching in a national park carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Violators can also be forced to forfeit the weapon and vehicle used in the crime.

The elk, known as bull No. 21, is one of the herd's biggest breeding bulls.

I'm having a hard time understanding why this guy did this. Did he just shoot the elk from his car for the sport of it - with people around him? Was he threatened or charged by the elk?

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.


Smokies Hiker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smokies Hiker said...

No charge. No one around him. Deep within park boundaries.

Not trying to spam your site but a lot more information as well as pictures of bull 21 is on Your Smokies News.

We all miss him and hope that this never happens again to one of our over-sized "pets".

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Smokies Hiker,

No problem, I always appreciate your insight. Yes, I did see those photos on your site.

Question: if no one was around, how did someone make note of his liscense plate number?

Do you have any other info on the circumstances, in particular, why he did it?



Anonymous said...

I happen to know this person. None of the things that have been said about him are close to true. He wasn't aware he was in the park. He was trying to provide for his family. With the economy in the shape it is he is haveing a hard time making ends meet, so he went hunting to feed his children. Guess that makes him a terible person. He never would have done this if he had any idea that it was illeagal. As for being an ignorant man, that to is the farthest from the truth.The only thing he is guilty of doing is not knowing the law, or his location. He is also guilty of loving and wanting to provide for his family.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...


I appreciate your information. I have two questions:

1) Your friend was an awful far way from home - Granville County is a couple hundred miles away from the Smokies. Why didn't he go deer hunting somewhere closer to home?

2) Based on the reports I've read, it sounds like the elk was left in a field. Why didn't he take it with him if he was intending to feed his family?


Smokies Hiker said...


Since the site is a nonprofit venture I was hoping you wouldn’t mind a link.

There is other information but it is not allowed to be released at this time. A very strong case is being made and mercy is not an option.

I can say however that only a few days earlier the Elk Bugle Corp was disbanded for the season.
Even though the season is over some of us are "back on the job".

The Anonymous commenter on your site is probably the same one that commented on mine.

His excuses make no sense and the stated facts that are blatantly false. There are only 2 ways into the valley and both are clearly marked with large National Park Service signs. Maybe he was so hungry or illiterate he could not read.

If your friend is so innocent Anonymous commenter please have him contact me for an interview.

We have just set up a memorial fund for bull Elk #21 in order to support the Elk Bugle Corp. A donation of any size is appreciated so that we could continue protecting our elk and educating the public.

When you make it back to the Smokies be sure to come to Cataloochee so I can give you a private tour.

Chris Hibbard

Anonymous said...

This is the anonymous writter from the 17th. Your questions are valied. First he was in your area to hunt bear, there are none in Granville Co. Bear have more meat than deer. Second question, he wasn't able to load the elk alone and was hoping to get some help from home to go get it. Now as for Chris' coments or Smokies Hikier, which ever he prefers to go by, first off I see He deleted the nasty, hateful things that he said about my friend, someone he doesn't know. Wonder if his lawyer told him about the slander law. My friend isn't the monster that people like Chris have made him out to be. Unlike some people he puts human life, and especially the lives of his family first. He feels terrible about this, that is why he has done everything he can to cooperate with the officials working this case. As I said before the only reason he shot the ANIMAL was to feed his family. He did not shot a person, he would not endanger a person. He feels awful about all of this. I only wish that people like Chris would really think before they speak. Yes, we are all allowed to have an oppinion, but sometimes we all speak before we think. Chris if you are reading this, I'm sorry for your lose, but you need to look at the big picture. And I understand about saying things and thinking better of them later, but if the words you are thinking are going on the web for the WORLD to see be sure they are correct, factual, and not words that you will later delete for fear of what you implied in them.


The argument "he shot an animal, so it isn't important" ain't making your case look too hot, pal.

Smokies Hiker said...

Glad I saw the new comments added by the Anonymous poster today.

So what you being the "friend" of Bruce are now claiming is that he went into a national park to poach bear saw an elk, fired 3 shots and left?

Did Bruce even have a hunting license for bear? The national forest was more than an hour away from where he was.

He was going to drive hundreds of miles to go home and come back to the park to load the body of the elk he left dead right by the road? Yeah right. Why did he not return?

Slander is spoken work libel is in writing. Learn the difference. Nothing I said or wrote was a lie and I did no delete any "false" statements. I would be glad to defend myself in a courtroom.

Why poach? He could go to a food pantry or FISH LEGALLY if he wants to "harvest food" for his "starving" family.

If you are such a good friend why didn't you help him and his family by feeding his family and keeping him from breaking the law?

Did he have to eat meat? Could have bought a lot of healthy food for what he spent on gas.

For the time he spent poaching and the money for the gas he could have been looking for a job to feed his family.

There are lots of hunters who would love to get their hands on Bruce. They all feel as though Bruce gave all hunters a black eye.

He didn't just steal from the park. He stoke from every US citizen who owns the resources in the national park and he killed the single most valuable resource in that park.

Shame on Bruce.

Smokies Hiker said...

BTW Anonymous, I will no longer respond to your posts as I have no idea who you are. So far nothing presented by you appears factual.

If Bruce wants to "clear his name" please have him contact me for an interview. I will be glad to wait to interview him after sentencing in person either while he is in facility or when he gets let out.