In what was called one of the most ‘egregious poaching’ cases in the Pacific Northwest, a small herd of elk in Washington State were gunned down in early November, their carcasses left to rot. With no attempt to salvage either meat or antlers from any of the deceased animals, the incident left hunters and wildlife officials scratching their heads.
“I’ve only been doing this for three years, but this is the worst I’ve seen so far. Who knows how many more are out there,” Officer Roman Varyvoda told KIRO 7. “As a hunter, it makes my blood boil.”
Initially, a $4,000 reward was offered, made up from funds from both the Northwest Chapter of Safari Club International and Conservation Northwest, in an attempt to secure some leads in the case. Now over a month later, officials are still searching for those responsible for the illegal poaching of the four calves and mature cow.
To sweeten the deal, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has also recently stepped forward, pledging an additional $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Captain Bob Weaver of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the additional funding might just be what breaks a case like this one wide open.
“This is one of the worst poaching cases I’ve ever seen, and the reward money provides a big incentive for people to come forward and tell us what they know about it,” Weaver told KIRO 7.
According to Weaver, charges would likely stem from a class C felony, including five years worth of jail time and up to $10,000 worth of fines.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s poaching hotline at 877-933-9847 or text tips to WDFWTIP and report and send them to 847411.