After four undersized bull elk were shot and abandoned in the Valley late in the hunting season, conservation officer Greg Kruger is asking the public for help tracking down the culprits.

“This puts hunters in a bad light, and we don’t consider these folks that are doing this hunters. We consider them poachers, and we would ask the other recreating public and hunters out there to please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity,” he said.

All four elk were left to decay, and none of the meat could be donated to the Columbia Valley Food Bank or to disadvantaged families as is the standard practice when animals are killed illegally.

“It was too late. We were not able to salvage any of the meat,” he said.

He estimated that each elk would have provided over 400 pounds of meat.

“It’s an absolute shame to waste that,” he said. “It’s unacceptable that people are abandoning these animals after they are illegally killed.”

The four abandoned elk had antlers which ranged from 4×5 points to 5×5 points instead of the legally-required 6×6 points.

The head of a well-undersized spike mule deer was also reported, while the rest of the carcass had been removed from the site.

“We understand mistakes happen, but people need to take the time to make sure they positively identify the animal as being a legal animal before they pull the trigger,” he said. “It just comes down to good hunting ethics.”

When someone mistakenly shoots an undersized animal, the culprit needs to come clean immediately and contact Conservation Officer Services, Mr. Kruger said.

“The repercussions are much less when people do report that they made that mistake,” he said.

Mr. Kruger asks anyone with information on the poached elk and deer or any other poaching infractions to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Anonymous tips are welcome and could result in rewards.

This year five hunting mistakes were self-reported. Those cases involved an undersized moose, an undersized elk and a few mule deer that were mistaken for white tail deer.