Three Haywood County elks were found to be killed legally.
After the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission had been contacted by a landowner that three Haywood County elk had been killed, officers began to investigate the reason why they had been killed in an otherwise prohibited area to hunt.
After discussing with the landowner who called in to the NCWRC, who wants to remain anonymous, and talking with other local landowners it was discovered that much damage had been caused to several properties which provides legal grounds to harvest the elk.
According to the law, the process known as depredation allows farmers or landowners to harvest elk if, in fact, the animals are damaging property or harassing livestock. The owner cannot claim the remains of the animal unless they have been issued a depredation permit. In this specific case, each step was done correctly. The owner contacted the NCWRC immediately after the elk has been killed.
According to reports, there was ample evidence of damage to justify killing the elk, and that “it’s not looking like a criminal investigation,” said Lt. Sam Craft of the NCWRC.
After the NCWRC had been notified, wildlife biologist, Justin McVey, went to the location to obtain samples, and to make sure the bodies were correctly disposed of. Prior to the incident, several farmers and landowners discussed with the NCWRC about possibly opening an elk season in the western part of the state to maintain the herd.
A local farmer, Ronnie Ross said he deals with elk harassing his cattle and dogs on almost a daily basis as well as the elk destroying property and crops.
“I wasn’t responsible for the taking of these elk,…dealing with elk has become an almost daily occurrence,” said Ross.
The NCWRC along with local landowners are hoping that an elk season is approved before hunting season begins later this year.