Bull Elk Has Child’s Swing Removed from its Head

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A bull elk is back in the woods of northcentral Colorado with a new look for the fall. No longer is it sporting a child’s swing tightly tangled in its antlers. But it does not have all of its antler tines either.

It happened in Indian Hills, a small community about 20 miles southwest of Denver.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) received a call about an elk with a small blue swing covering its nose and part of its face. The photos show how difficult it would be for the bull to be able to eat or drink anything.

According to CPW, a wildlife officer tranquilized the elk, attached an ear tag and removed most of its antlers for safety and to keep the bull from being harvested. The 2.5-year-old bull had nontypical antlers, which usually happens when the pedicle or antler base gets damaged at an early age. Find more info about that here.

Go to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife NE Region Twitter page to see a series of photos and videos from the incident.

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

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Nebraska Commission Approves Free-Earned Landowner Elk Permit Program

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/nebraska-commission-approves-free-earned-landowner-elk-permit-program/

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission amended its wildlife regulations to create the Free-earned Landowner Elk Permit Program at its Oct. 22 meeting in North Platte.

In the program, a person who owns or leases at least 80 acres of farm- or ranchland for agricultural purposes qualifies for an either-sex elk permit following the verification of 10 general antlerless elk harvests; immediate family members are eligible for the permit.

The free-earned landowner elk permit was created during the 2021 Legislative Session. The goal is to increase hunting access opportunities and antlerless elk harvest, and to benefit landowners who regularly have elk on their property but can’t always draw a landowner permit.

Immediate family includes spouse, child, stepchild, spouse of child or stepchild, sibling sharing ownership or spouse of sibling.

The free-earned permit does not affect eligibility for general or landowner permits.

The Commission also approved an elk management plan, which describes the agency’s goal of managing elk at acceptable population levels while providing Nebraskans with quality hunting and viewing opportunities.

(Photo source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)

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Kentucky Takes Action to Protect Elk, Deer from CWD

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/kentucky-takes-action-to-protect-elk-deer-from-cwd/

Below is a news release from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources took action late Monday to enhance protections for the commonwealth’s deer and elk herds and increase monitoring for chronic wasting disease in five western Kentucky counties following the recent detection of the always-fatal brain disease in a wild white-tailed deer in northwestern Tennessee.

Last week, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency confirmed a 3 ½-year-old female deer from Henry County, Tennessee tested positive for the incurable disease that affects deer, elk, moose and caribou.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has not been detected in Kentucky but the proximity of Tennessee’s latest detection – just 8 miles from the Kentucky border and less than 20 miles south of Murray, Kentucky – activated Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s CWD Response Plan.

The plan was established almost 20 years ago and has evolved over time with the best available science. The emergency actions by Commissioner Rich Storm are consistent with measures outlined in the department’s response plan and presented to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission for discussion during a special-called meeting this past Friday.

Citing authorization pursuant to state law (KRS 150.025) and administrative regulation (301 KAR 3:040), Storm authorized the following measures to be effective immediately in the five counties (Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman and Marshall counties) that comprise the CWD Surveillance Zone.

  • Prohibition on baiting and feeding of all wildlife by means of any grain, salt, mineral or other attractants intended to be ingested, except for normal agricultural practices, including food plots; hanging bird feeders within the curtilage of the home; and furbearer trapping (trappers shall use no grain, salt or mineral)
  • Prohibition on transport of entire deer carcasses, skull contents, spinal columns or bones from deer harvested or slaughtered in the five counties (excluding antlers, antlers attached to a clean skull plate, a clean skull, clean teeth, finished taxidermy work, hide or deboned meat).
  • Persons in possession of or transporting a cervid (deer, elk, moose or caribou) carcass or parts in or through any of these counties must attach to the carcass or parts a clearly visible tag (such as paper, plastic or metal durably attached by wire or string) with the following information legibly displayed for inspection upon request by an official from the department, including:
  • Species and sex of animal
  • County and state of origin
  • Date harvested or obtained
  • Hunter’s name, valid telephone number including area code and telecheck number (or state of origin’s equivalent check-in verification number or information)
  • Hunters who harvest deer in Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman and Marshall counties during the following Kentucky deer hunting seasons, shall present at a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife-authorized check station in one of these counties either the entire carcass of each deer, or the entire head and proof of sex (as established in 301 KAR 2:172) for collection of a CWD sample:
  • Early Muzzleloader Season (two consecutive days starting the third Saturday in October);
  • Modern Gun Season (16 consecutive days starting the second Saturday in November); and
  • Late Muzzleloader Season (nine consecutive days starting the second Saturday in December).
  • Mandatory release (per 301 KAR 2:075 release requirements) of any currently rehabilitated white-tailed deer within the county it is rehabilitated.
  • Prohibition on rehabilitation of white-tailed deer subsequent to issuance of the authorization.

Once locations of department-authorized check stations are finalized, the department will upload the location information to its website (fw.ky.gov). Hunters are encouraged to check the department’s website, CWD webpage (fw.ky.gov/cwd) and social media channels for the latest information.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife also will attempt to directly communicate with hunters who reside or have in the past five years harvested a deer in the five counties, using the hunters’ contact information. Situations like this highlight the need for hunters and anglers to keep their “My Profile” account information up to date at fw.ky.gov.

The restrictions are intended to remain effective until they are rescinded or superseded by Kentucky Administrative Regulations.

“Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has tested more than 32,000 deer and elk for CWD since 2002. While the disease has not been detected in Kentucky, it’s all but surrounding us now,” Storm said. “My actions are guided by the sound science reflected in our response plan and align with the agency’s mission. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is meeting this challenge head-on. Hunters and landowners played a key role in our restoration of deer decades ago, and today they are going to be vital to our disease monitoring efforts in these five counties. We appreciate their continued cooperation and support as we together conserve our deer herd into the future.”

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hold a special called video teleconference meeting at 10 a.m. (EDT) on Wednesday. At that meeting, the commission will discuss possibly recommending the incorporation into KAR 301 KAR 2:172, 2:015, 2:075 and 2:095 restrictions similar to those put into place by Storm. The meeting will be livestreamed on the department’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/FishandWildlifeKY. A link to the livestream will be posted on the department’s homepage at fw.ky.gov at the start of the meeting.

For the latest information on CWD, please visit the department’s CWD webpage (fw.ky.gov/cwd) and follow its social media channels. Additional information about CWD is available at cwd-info.org, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and at tn.gov/twra/hunting/cwd.

Hunters can help alert Kentucky Fish and Wildlife of any sick deer or elk. The department advises hunters never to harvest or handle any animals that appear sick or unhealthy.

Reports also can be submitted by phone and email (Info.Center@ky.gov). Kentucky Fish and Wildlife staffs a toll-free number weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern). The number is 1-800-858-1549. In addition to name and contact information, each caller will be asked to provide the following about the observation: county and date, number of deer found, and whether the deer were sick or recently deceased. An online reporting option will be available soon through the department’s website.

Another way hunters can help the department’s efforts to monitor for CWD across the state is by donating the heads of legally harvested and telechecked deer for CWD testing and aging through the statewide Deer Sample Collection Station Program. There is no cost to hunters. Location information, instructions and more information about the program are available at fw.ky.gov/cwd.

(Photo source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources)

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Hunters Kill Grizzly Bear in Self-Defense Encounter

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Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

A small group of hunters shot and killed a grizzly bear in the backcountry east of Gardiner in southwest Montana on October 3, 2021.

The hunters were processing a harvested elk near Bull Mountain during an early-season rifle hunt in Hunting District 316 when the bear appeared nearby and charged at the group. The hunters shot and killed the bear during its charge and were not injured. The bear was a 3- to 5-year-old female without cubs.

Wildlife and enforcement staff from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s Gardiner Ranger District met with the hunters and confirmed the bear mortality. The incident is still under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Recreationists, residents and people who work outdoors can be prepared for a surprise bear encounter. Activities that are deliberately quiet or fast moving, such as hunting, mountain biking or trail running, put people at greater risk for surprising a bear. Bears will be active throughout the general hunting season.

When you’re spending time in Montana’s outdoors, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and look for bear sign.
  • Read signs at trailheads and stay on trails. Be especially careful around creeks and in areas with dense brush.
  • Carry bear spray. Know how to use it and be prepared to deploy it immediately.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and make casual noise, which can help alert bears to your presence.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
  • Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
  • If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Leave the area when it is safe to do so.

Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Management authority for grizzlies rests with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working closely in Montana with FWP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, the Forest Service and Tribal lands. This collaboration happens through the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

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Help Solve Elk Poaching Cases in Montana, British Columbia

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Game Wardens with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks need help finding the person(s) responsible for illegally shooting an elk near White Sulphur Springs on October 11, 2021.

Warden Tanner Mitchell reports on that morning that someone shot and wounded the elk calf on private land along the Smith River road near Sheep Creek between the hours of 7:30 and 10:30 a.m., then abandoned. The calf was later euthanized.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the FWP violation reporting hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT.  Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Some 400 miles to the northwest in southeast corner of British Columbia, Canada, wildlife officials are dealing with a rash of poaching cases. The East Kootenay Conservation Officer Service reports someone poached killed two 5-by-5 bull elk and one grizzly bear north of the small town of Elkford. Hunters may take 6-by-6 elk but not 5-by-5 elk.

“We really want to focus on that group of people who are shooting and leaving animals to waste. We don’t want that animal to go to waste. We want to do all that we can. It happens every year, but this is one of the worst years I’ve ever experienced,” Patricia Burley, East Kootenay conservation officer, told MyEastKootenayNow. “The number for this year, we have not totaled, but we’re looking at approximately 30 self-reported five-point bull elk as well as those that have been found.”

If you have any information that can help conservation officers with any British Columbia cases, call 1-877-952-7277.

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

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California Helps Hunters Affected by Wildfires

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/california-helps-hunters-affected-by-wildfires/

As of mid-October, more than 8,100 different wildfires burned approximately 2.5 million acres of land in California. In addition to closing national forests and other landscapes as well as triggering evacuations, it kept some hunters from carrying out plans to try to fill their tags.

The California Fish and Game recently voted unanimously to authorize publication of its intent to allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider a number of actions. Among them are the reinstatement of preference points and award one preference point for the license year for certain deer tags and to refund tag fees, reinstate preference points and award one preference point for the license year for bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and elk hunts after the season start date for first-choice draw hunts that are inaccessible for 66 percent or more of the season as a result of public land closures caused by wildfires for unsuccessful hunters.

California hunters dealt with similar issues in previous years.

(Photo source: California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

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Cow Elk Shot, Left to Waste in Central Idaho

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/cow-elk-shot-left-to-waste-in-central-idaho/

Below is a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information regarding the illegal killing of a cow elk near Stanley.

On Friday, October 22, 2021, a cow elk was found shot and left to waste on the ridge between Joe’s Gulch and Kelly Creek, just north of Lower Stanley in Big Game Management Unit 36. While an antlered elk hunt is currently in progress in the area, there is no open season on antlerless elk.

“Someone may have mistakenly thought they were aiming and shooting at a bull elk,” said Kyle Christiansen, Conservation Officer for Idaho Fish and Game. “Mistakes happen, but no attempt was made to report the mistake, as cell phone coverage is only a few miles away.”

It appears the cow elk was likely shot from the road, and no attempt was made to field dress or take any meat from the animal.

Christiansen collected evidence at the scene but is seeking additional information the public might have. “Someone knows who shot and left this cow elk to waste, and we would like to visit with them,” he said

Anyone with any information regarding this incident or any wildlife violation is urged to contact Senior Conservation Officer Kyle Christiansen at 208-851-1957, the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999, or the Salmon regional office at 208-756-2271. Callers may remain anonymous and those with information leading to charges being filed are eligible for rewards.

(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

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Elk Hunter Accidently Shot, Killed in Wyoming

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A California man hunting elk in northcentral Wyoming with his adult son died after being accidently shot.

The Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and Worland Police Department said the pair headed back toward their pickup when they encountered a rock face. While handing the rifles so he could climb up the rock face, one of the rifles discharged striking Ron Blank in the chest. His son, Dan, immediately rendered first aid and contacted authorities.

Adverse conditions did not allow ambulances to reach the site. Dan used cell phone contact and handgun shots to guide first responders to the scene who conducted triage and stabilized the victim for transport. A helicopter flew Blank to a hospital in Worland where he died while in surgery.

This case is still under investigation by the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and the Washakie County Coroner’s Office. Authorities notified the family and made arrangements to return Ron Blank’s remains to California.

(Photo source: Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and Worland Police Department)

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Virginia Hunters Supply 30 Million Pounds of Venison to Those in Need

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Below is a news release from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Sometime this fall, Virginia’s Hunters for the Hungry (HFTH) will very likely distribute its 30 millionth serving of venison (1/4 pound equals a serving) in the organization’s 30 years of service. Director Gary Arrington, who has served HFTH in various roles since coming aboard in 2004, marvels at the accomplishment and expects, in fact, to go well past that benchmark.

“As a hunter and a former Conservation Police Officer for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), I’m used to seeing the good and bad in the hunting community,” he said. “But there’s no question that Hunters for the Hungry has been the proverbial feather in the cap for the hunting community since we came into existence.

“Hunters have a tradition of sharing their harvest with the less fortunate, and sharing high protein, low fat, organic venison meals with folks who are struggling is an excellent example of that charity. Our late founder, David Horne, had a vision that one day our organization would annually share 200,000 pounds of venison. It’s safe to say we have the potential to surpass that every year now,” said Arrington.

However, Arrington emphasizes that HFTH is not just looking back at its past successes, but is eagerly striving to help the needy even more in the future.

“One of our more exciting initiatives has been to reach out to organizations not usually associated with hunting,” he says. “For example, we recently received a $30,000 dollar check from the Roanoke Women’s Foundation, a philanthropic group that’s mostly known for supporting the arts, culture, and education.

“We did a Zoom-type presentation to the group and that enabled us to communicate with members that normally might not have attended an in-person meeting. I feel this effort provided them insight about our mission. We’ve also been successfully working more and more with groups such as the Rotary, Lions, and Ruritans.”

Arrington adds that one of the major challenges in recent years has been the decline in meat processors, especially in many rural areas. These folks, he says, have been retiring from their longtime vocation. The solution?

“Thanks to grants and donations, we’ve increased our number of mobile ice boxes to over 20,” he said. “In some areas now, we can place an ice box in an area where a processor doesn’t exist. A longtime goal of Hunters for the Hungry has been to keep venison in the same area it was donated. That way hunters who donate their deer know that their meat goes to feed folks in their local area.”

How can sportsmen and the general public support Virginia’s Hunters for the Hungry to be an even more effective charity?

“Keep sending us your deer and your dollars,” Arrington says. “We’ll put them to good use and continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

For more information: www.h4hungry.org, 800-352-4868.

(Photo source: Bruce Ingram/Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources)

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Utah Conservation Officers Seek Info after Bull Elk Killed, Left to Waste

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/utah-conservation-officers-seek-info-after-bull-elk-killed-left-to-waste/

Below is a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers are seeking information from the public after a large bull elk was recently killed and left to waste.

The incident occurred on private property near Mormon Flat in Morgan County on Oct. 9. The animal was shot and killed and then left to waste. The bull elk was a 6×6, making it a trophy animal. DWR conservation officers received a report and are investigating the incident.

“Currently, there are no known suspects identified in the case,” DWR Conservation Officer Brandon Olson said. “Investigating officers received information that the two individuals in the submitted photo may have been in the area at the time of the incident and may have valuable information pertinent to the case. We would like to get additional information from the two men, so if you recognize either of the individuals, please contact us.”

Anyone with information regarding the killing of this elk, or any other wildlife-related crimes in Utah, is encouraged to report it to DWR conservation officers in one of the following ways:

  • By calling the UTiP Hotline at 800-662-3337
  • The UTDWR Law Enforcement app
  • By texting 847411
  • Online through the DWR website

There are currently no suspects in this case. The two individuals in this submitted photo (at the bottom of this post) may have been in the area at the time of the incident and may have valuable information about this case, so DWR conservation officers would like to talk to them.

If you have information about this specific case, you can also contact DWR Conservation Officer Brandon Olson at 801-541-3906 or brandonolson@utah.gov. Rewards are available, and requests for confidentiality are respected.

Every year, Utah conservation officers conduct numerous investigations into the illegal killing of wildlife. In 2020, officers confirmed over 1,000 illegally killed animals valued over $387,000.

(Photo source: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

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