Reward Offered for Elk Poacher

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A reward of up to $6,000.00 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing a bull from the state's new elk herd, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The dead 2X2 bull elk was found by a deer hunter on December 26, in the Ash Log Mountain section of Sundquist WMA in Campbell County. The elk was 1 1/2 years old and weighed 350 pounds. "This elk had no collar or ear tag," said Steve Bennett, TWRA's elk biologist. "Since is was not tagged, it was not one that we released, but instead was born here in Tennessee in the Spring of 2002."

During field examination of the elk, a bullet hole was found in the neck. Later, at the University of Tennessee Veterinary School, x-rays found bullet fragments in the neck around the area of the wound. "From the condition of the animal, I would say the elk had not been dead for more than a day or two when found," said Bennett. "The animal was intact when found." "When establishing a new population of animals, such as these elk, the unnecessary loss of just one animal is harmful to the program," continued Bennett. "That is why we need someone to step forward with information that can help us stop the poaching of elk."

The $6,000.00 is being offered with the cooperation of: $2,000.00 from the Kentucky-Tennessee Coal Operators Association, Inc. of Corbin, Kentucky, $2,000.00 from Dr. David Gilliam of Walland, and $2,000.00 combined from the Tennessee Conservation League, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and TWRA.

Anyone with information about this elk poaching incident, should call the TWRA Region IV Stop Poaching hotline (1-800-831-1174). Or call Brian Ripley, TWRA law enforcement supervisor, at 1-800-332-0900 ext. 122. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.