Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Two elk carcasses found, probable poaching?

Staff Writer | May 13, 2022 7:50 PM

COPELAND — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information on two bull elk which were illegally killed and left to waste near Kerr Lake.

Located between the West Side Road and Copeland Road, the two bull elk were found approximately 200 yards apart and were killed between the evening of April 30 and the morning of May 1. After discovering the animal, the landowner contacted Idaho Fish and Game on May 1.

Conservation Officer Nate Gattey, stationed in Bonners Ferry, said this incident is classified as poaching since it took place outside from the hunting season.

Gattey said the killing of the elk was an egregious act and that nothing was harvested from them. Their antlers had already fallen off in early spring.

Gattey said that poaching is not as common in May versus the hunting season where an individual may bend or break rules.

Idaho Fish and Game works to help prevent poaching through tips from the public, education and evoking fines on poachers.

On the legal side, Gattey follows up on tips and calls on possible poaching incidents. He said for a conservation officer it is best to know the general area well enough to prevent someone from making a bad decision.

The penalties for poaching vary depending on the species. Poaching moose or mountain goats, a once in a lifetime hunt for some, can result in fines of $10,000. For other species such as elk and turkey the fines are different. Another determination is the number of animals poached.

If the number of poaching cases is significant enough to affect the species population in a particular area, the number of tags issued could change, Gattey said. However, he noted it would have to be decided by a Fish and Game biologist.

Anyone with any information related to the incident is encouraged to contact Gattey at 208-916-5902 or call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Information can also be reported online and callers can remain anonymous. Information leading to charges being filed would be eligible for a reward from the program.

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