Elk Poacher Reward Grows

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The amount of reward offered for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of poachers who recently killed three of the state's new elk has grown to $6,000, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The latest contribution to the reward is $2,000 made by the Kentucky Coal Operators Association, Inc. of Corbin Kentucky. The Association is made up of a group of coal companies and suppliers of coal companies in southeastern Kentucky and the Northern Cumberland Plateau, including Campbell and Claiborne counties.

"The Association has worked actively with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisting with elk restoration programs in both Kentucky and Tennessee," said David Smith, General Counsel for the Association and RMEF member. "We feel that it is important to protect the reintroduction programs. Shooting of these elk is a serious act of vandalism. We hope that providing the additional reward money will help bring these poachers to justice."

This $2,000 donation will be added to the $2,000 reward already donated by Dr. David Gilliam of Walland, and $2,000 offered by the Tennessee Conservation League. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), and TWRA.

Over a three-week period beginning in mid-November, two bull elk, the largest being a 5X5 and weighing almost 800 pounds, were found dead within a mile of the release site on Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area. A third elk was a cow that was found dead in Morgan County. Each of these elk had been shot and left intact.

If others are interested in donating toward the reward offer, they may contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation at (615) 831-3480 or write to the Foundation, Ellington Agricultural Center, P. O. Box 110031, Nashville, TN 37222-0031. Any monies donated are tax-deductible contributions.

Anyone having any information that would be helpful to the investigation is urged to call the TWRA poaching hotline at 1-800-831-1174. This line will be answered 7:00 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. All information received will be held in strictest confidence.