Officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) were called to the Brownlee Reservoir roughly 40 miles east of Baker City, Oregon earlier in the week in an attempt to salvage members of an elk herd that had ventured onto the unstable ice.
Sheila Hocker of Richland reported the incident Tuesday morning after an eyewitness told her about the situation. Upon arriving on the scene, ODFW officials were helpless as the nearest group of elk were 300 yards away from shore on very unstable ice. It was at that point district wildlife biologists Brian Ratliff decided any attempt to either save the elk or salvage any meat from the animals would be nearly impossible.
“It’s an unfortunate event, but no human life is worth it to try to salvage some meat,” Ratliff told the Baker City Herald. “Saving a live elk in a situation like that, I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but it’s very dangerous.”
After speaking with many local residents, Ratliff was told that another herd of elk had successfully crossed the reservoir a number of times over the past week. With unusually frigid and snowy weather, Ratliff and other officials believe many animals, including elk, have been forced to remain close to the reservoir because of the reliable food and water sources it provides.
After an inspection of the area, ODFW officials concluded that the elk did not seem to be hurried by any predators, they simply walked single file toward the reservoir and ultimately to their untimely death.
Featured Image: Larry Lamsa | Flickr