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Old November 17, 2009, 09:56 AM   #1
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North Carolina Elk Poacher
Asheville North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park police suspect Granville County man in elk killing

CATALOOCHEE — Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers said Monday they planned to issue charges in what would be the park's first case of elk poaching.

Rangers found bull No. 21 — known to many of the park's regular elk watchers as one of the herd's biggest breeding bulls — dead Friday along the edge of a pasture in Cataloochee Valley.

The park reintroduced 25 elk to the valley in 2001 with a $1 million project funded by the Friends of the Smokies and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The herd has since grown to about 100 and has become a popular park attraction, drawing hundreds of onlookers during the fall mating season.

Tips from the public led federal police to the home of a Granville County man. Someone wrote down the tag number of the man's vehicle after the shooting in Cataloochee Valley and relayed it to National Park Service rangers.

A special agent traveled to the man's home Saturday to question him, and the suspect confirmed that he had shot the elk, park spokesman Bob Miller said Monday.

The man's name was not made public because charges had not yet been filed. Miller said charges would likely come by the end of the week. He said he did not know why the elk was shot.

“The suspect was quickly identified and a strong case developed because of the willingness of members of the community to come forward and talk to rangers and state wildlife officers,” acting Chief Ranger Steve Kloster said in a statement.

Elk were once common in the Smokies and the rest of the Southern Appalachians. Hunting and habitat loss eradicated them by the early 19th century.

Two years after bringing back elk, the park saw a 50 percent increase in visitors to Cataloochee with 214,000 people.

Elk watchers line the edges of the fields with lawn chairs, cameras, binoculars and coolers to wait for the animals to emerge from the woods during the fall mating season.

Miller said the community's love of the animals broke the case in the criminal investigation.

“They really feel very personally about these elk,” he said.

The bull was taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy. The report, which will show a cause of death, has not yet been received.

Miller said park police are discussing possible charges with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A person convicted of poaching in a national park can face jail time and fines. A convict can also be forced to forfeit the weapon and the vehicle used in the crime.

“While the loss of one bull elk may not jeopardize the success of the park's elk program, we do see this as a very serious theft of the public's enjoyment of their national park.” Kloster said.
simonkenton is offline  
Old November 17, 2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Good job by the public in reporting it.

I HATE poachers.

Daryl is offline  
Old November 17, 2009, 11:08 AM   #3
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Join Date: October 19, 2009
Location: Western North Carolina
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+1 for that!
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety - Benjamin Franklin
Light is faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright unitl you hear them speak!
They should have stopped with "Congress shall make no Law...
DRice.72 is offline  
Old November 17, 2009, 01:59 PM   #4
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If he's guilty, I hope they confiscate everything involved and THEN throw his sorry butt in jail for a nice long time
oneounceload is offline  
Old November 17, 2009, 04:13 PM   #5
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Join Date: June 14, 2009
Location: portland oregon
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shoot poachers

there were some bad insidences here in oregon
One guy shot four elk and then started calling his
buddies to find some poeple to fill there tags
it was a small bachelor heard of all 5x6 6x6 5x7 and
There was another stupid #$%##@# in sandy ore that
saw a huge racked blacktail buck on privite proprty
he pulls up gets out with riffle and shoots from road
to privite property killing deer ,climes fence gets deer
and returns home property owner calls cops and gives them
plate # . the get to dudes house he,s guttin skinnin ya know
the took every thing deer gun truck.
it was measured and would have been a state record
SAIGAFISH is offline  

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