VAN BUREN, Mo. — Missouri Department of Conservation investigators are seeking answers after an elk was found shot and killed on Nov. 18.
Department officials found the animal Monday morning near the end of M Highway in Carter County, according to a news release. The elk cow was found intact – no meat or hide harvested.
By the time the officials found the elk, none of the animal’s parts were salvageable for donation or consumption.
This is the sixth elk killed by poachers over the past several years, according to the MDC. Currently, it is illegal to kill elk in Missouri due to ongoing efforts to restore the once-natural elk population.
“The restoration of elk in Missouri is appreciated by many people, businesses, and organizations in the area,” MDC Protection Division Chief Randy Doman said. “The senseless waste of the people’s resources should not be tolerated.”
Once popular in the 1800s, free-ranging elk were erased from the landscape due to over-hunting. Starting in 2011, the MDC has re-introduced and monitored the growth of an elk population in Southcentral Missouri.
The MDC said it’s looking to implement a limited elk hunting season in 2020, according to information released earlier this year. However, no hunting season had been issued in 2019.
MDC agents are asking that anyone with any information related to this investigation report it to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-392-1111 or the MDC Ozark Regional Office in West Plains at (417) 256-7161.