As most of us eagerly set out into the woods during this cherished time of year, tag in hand, there are still, unfortunately, those that operate with brazen ignorance to both the laws and the management of wildlife.
This month, officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks made two separate discoveries of illegally killed bull elk and are actively seeking help from the hunting community. As part of their investigations into these types of crimes, the tips and information they receive from law-abiding members of the hunting community are often what allows them to finally lay charges.
The first elk was discovered close to the entrance of the Three Mile Wildlife Management Area in Ravalli County in western Montana. Primarily used to provide adequate winter range for elk, the area is also open to walk-in hunting opportunities, as motorized vehicles such as ATV’s are prohibited.
According to game warden Justin Singleterry, the elk was dumped at the location around October 10th. The animal was recovered without its antlers and about half of the meat missing.
Moving to the eastern part of Montana, another bull elk was recovered by game wardens in the middle of an alfalfa field. Warden Connor Langel mentioned that this was the first poaching incident he has been aware of ahead of the general elk season scheduled to begin on October 21st.
The bull elk in this instance was illegally shot on private land just south of I-94 and was found with the head severed from the body and the meat left to waste.
Anyone with information on either case is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a conviction.