HomeOutdoorsGame and Fish Department Investigating Elk Poaching Incident in North Dakota

Game and Fish Department Investigating Elk Poaching Incident in North Dakota

by Jon D. B.
(Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

North Dakota Game and Fish Dept. needs the public’s assistance, as the state’s latest elk poaching leaves two impressive bulls to rot near Keene.

A tragic sight for hunters and officials alike has northwest ND seeking answers. Two large, gorgeous bull elk were shot then left to rot, according to the department’s Facebook announcement. NDGF cites the poaching most likely took place in the afternoon or evening of Wednesday, February 17. Both corpses were found north of Keene around where 40th Street Northwest and 109th Avenue Northwest intersect.

District game warden for the Game and Fish Department in Watford City, N.D., Joe Lucas, brought the poaching to the state’s attention after receiving a report from a local landowner. The landowner reports he went out to check on a bull elk he saw “lying down” on his property. Upon inspection, he discovered the elk to be dead. To his shock, an additional bull carcass was nearby. The second specimen, however, was missing its head.

Both bulls were left to rot, with all meat intact, resulting in a heinously wasteful poaching.

Game and Fish officials are looking for information in connection to an elk poaching case near Keene. Two bull elk were…

Posted by North Dakota Game and Fish Department on Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Bull Elk Left to Waste Were “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Tags for ND Residents

“It’s definitely a waste, with these being a once-in-a-lifetime tag for only residents of North Dakota,” Game Warden Lucas tells local Grand Forks Herald via phone interview. “To have two shot and left like that, it’s pretty sad to see.”

The complete specimen holds a 6×6 rack, measuring near 300-310, Lucas estimates.

“It’s definitely a respectable bull that I think a lot of people who had a tag would be happy to harvest,” he says of the poaching. The body of the second bull appears to be of equal size and stature.

So far, ND officials have zero leads, with no suspects coming into question over the poaching, the game warden states.

As of writing this article, North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Facebook post (above) on the crime has over 1.7k shares. Officials hope this widespread sharing will help bring the poacher(s) to justice. Within, the department asks directly for the help of the public.

Poaching Wastes Two Full Bulls, No Meat Salvageable

NDGF will keep both bull elk as evidence in the poaching case. No meat from either specimen was salvageable, however. As for the impressive 6×6 rack left on the first poaching, Lucas says the courts will decide its fate.

“Normally, heads like that are kept as evidence until the case is completed,” the game warden specifies. “As far as what happens with the racks, that’s up to the courts.”

Lucas additionally notes that the poaching seems to be an isolated case. No similar incidents have taken place nearby to his knowledge.

“We haven’t had any other reports of anything like this up in this area recently,” he concludes.

North Dakota Game and Fish asks anyone with information about the poaching of the two bull elk to call the state’s Report All Poachers hotline at (701) 328-9921. Calls to the service can remain anonymous if chosen. An award is on the table if any conviction comes from a call.