A bull elk sitting in the sun
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Poachers Kill 6 Elk, Leave Bodies to Rot in Nebraska

Officials are still looking for the poacher(s), drawing criticism: Are the poaching laws too lax? Or is the reward too low?

On July 22, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission was alerted to the carcasses of a bull elk, three cows, and two calves, according to a Facebook post issued the same day. The elk were illegally killed in Gross, Nebraska, and then left to rot. While this may not be one of the worst poaching cases the hunting world has seen, six elk laid to waste is a pretty egregious offense.

According to the Commission, the poachers did not attempt to harvest any part of the animals. They wrote, "Anyone who intentionally abandons an edible portion of game or fails to dispose of game in a reasonable and sanitary manner commits wanton waste."

They are offering a $2,000 reward for information on the incident that leads to an arrest.

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While the agency was quick to share the incident with the public, the overall details are thin. Commenters on the post were upset about the situation, but some turned it around on the state agencies themselves, pointing out that penalties are not strict enough to stop poaching from happening.



One concerned commenter wrote, "Seems like they take big, but they didn't do anything to the people that shot a couple of elk and left them lay a few years ago in the same general area."

Of course, it's likely that those poachers were never caught, leading one commenter to speculate that they may be "the same exact people. Odds are there are not two elk poaching families around Gross."

An interesting theory considering there aren't that many people registered as living in Gross. Gross sits along the Missouri River in Boyd County, next to the border of South Dakota. The village, founded in 1893 and named for general store owner Ben Gross, has a registered population of three people.

Commenters also agreed that the reward amount is not nearly high enough to get anyone to talk. One wrote, "People pay more than that to get an out-of-state tag to hunt elk in some places." They theorized that with more money, "someone will squeal. It's Boyd County, Nebraska. Someone knows something." While another said that compassion for animal life and doing the right thing should be enough. "If I knew who did such a heinous crime towards wildlife like this, I would need no reward," they wrote. "I used to hunt for food, and to a true hunter, this makes me sick."

Those with any lead are asked to submit information online at OutdoorNebraska.gov; search Wildlife Crimestoppers. They can also call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-742-7627. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission emphasized that reports can be made anonymously.

READ MORE: Are Poaching Penalties Too Light?