A reward is being offered for information leading to the prosecution of the person who illegally shot an elk near Benezette earlier this month.
The 5-by 5-point bull was found injured and hiding in a patch of goldenrod shortly after daylight on October 15. Game Commission officials say residents in the area heard several gunshots at around 3 a.m. that day.
The game commission says the elk was apparently shot while in the front yard of a nearby home and hobbled about 100 yards before lying down. The injuries left the elk unable to walk any farther or get back up, so it had to be put down.
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.
Several people and groups have contributed to the reward fund and, so far, have pledged $3,800. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the game commission.
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 1800s, 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.
Game Commission photo