It’s common for elk to cross the Oregon reservoir in the winter, but this time was different. The ice broke in four places, and 41 elk died after falling through the ice.
OregonLive is reporting that on December 27, a herd of elk was crossing the Brownlee Reservoir near Richland, Oregon when tragedy struck. At around 9:00 a.m., the ice broke, and 41 elk fell through.
A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said it’s common for elk to cross the reservoir in the winter.
Herds of elk often cross the reservoir at the Powder River arm, but conditions were different when the herd crossed Tuesday, Michelle Dennehy said.
This time, the ice broke in four places as the elk crossed, Dennehy says.
The Baker City Herald says that ODFW employees drove to the reservoir in an attempt to save the elk or salvage the meat but were unsuccessful.
The closest group of elk to the shore was 300 yards away. With the unstable ice, ODFW said the distance was too great to attempt a recovery.
With the rise of wolves in Oregon, many have wondered if wolves chased the elk onto the ice. While it’s possible, ODFW and witnesses of the incident have not mentioned wolves pursuing the elk.
About the Author: Dominic Aiello is an avid hunter, angler, and wildlife policy expert. He is the President of the Oregon Outdoor Council, Cabela’s Prostaff, and Outdoor Writer. Follow his adventures on Instagram @daiello91 or Twitter @HunterInformant.