It may be elk season in Washington, but that doesn’t mean bow hunters can hunt anywhere in the open game management units (GMU). That’s when elk hunters become elk poachers.
But there is something worse than a poacher—someone hunting illegally who shoots a family dog.
Junior, a 2-year-old rescue dog in Eatonville, was shot in the chest on Sept. 22. That was the last day of early-season elk archery hunting in GMU 654.
However, the land around Junior’s owner’s house, Heidi Austin-Root, is private property.
Austin-Root says the shooter was hunting illegally. Most likely Junior, along with another family pet, was chasing off elk in the area.
She also says that the elk poachers must have been close enough for a shot, given how accurate the hit was. That means there was no mistaking Junior for an elk.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending: the shot missed Junior’s jugular, and veterinarians were able to save his life, with the potential for a permanent limp.
The Washington Department of Fish and Game has put up a $5,000 reward as an incentive to catch whoever shot Junior.