BENEETTE – A reward is being offered in relation to a bull elk that was shot illegally earlier this month.
The 5- by 5-point bull was found injured and hiding in a patch of goldenrod soon after daylight on Oct. 15, near Benezette in Elk County. The elk is believed to have been shot at about 3 a.m., when residents of Winslow Hill, near Benezette, heard several shots.
The elk apparently was shot while in the front yard of a nearby residence, and it hobbled about 100 yards before lying down. The injuries left the elk unable to further walk or get back up. Due to its injuries, the elk had to be put down by Pennsylvania Game Commission officers.
Wildlife Conservation Officer Doty McDowell, who responded to the site where the elk was found, called the illegal shooting a senseless act. “Whoever did this has no respect for elk, but also little regard for human life,” McDowell said, pointing out the elk was shot within close proximity of several homes.
The illegal shooting has prompted many in the Elk County area to contribute to a reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the person or persons responsible. Individuals and groups so far have pledged $3,800 in reward money.
Anyone with information about the illegal shooting is asked to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 570-398-4744 or 570-398-4745. Callers may remain anonymous and can notify the Game Commission dispatcher at the time they call if they wish to do so.
While Pennsylvania’s native elk had been eliminated from the state by the late 1800’s, a thriving elk population now exists in parts of five Pennsylvania counties. In fact, 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s first elk restoration efforts.
Since 2001, a limited number of hunters have been able to take part in an annual elk hunt in Pennsylvania, but illegally killing an elk out of season carries up to $15,000 in fines and up to 36 months in jail, plus hunting-license revocation. In addition to those penalties, those convicted of illegally killing a trophy-class elk must pay a mandatory $5,000 replacement cost.