(Editor’s note: An image of one of the four elk that was killed appears at the bottom of this story. It may be disturbing to some.)
Oregon wildlife officials say a man who told authorities he had “elk fever” admitted to shooting into a herd of elk near Nehalem, killing one and wounding at least three more — two of which were put down by authorities.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said it happened in January. The man, identified only as a 66-year-old, allegedly shot illegally from a road and in the direction of Highway 101. He later self-reported and expressed remorse, they said.
ODFW said troopers responded to a call in to the Turn in Poachers (TIP) Line. They found three wounded elk wandering with a herd of about 30 animals. The agency said the alleged shooter had already left with a cow elk he tagged.
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ODFW said the man had a late-season cow elk tag and permission from the land owner to hunt, ODFW said.
The man allegedly had field-dressed the carcass and left the area, according to the landowner. The landowner reportedly encouraged the man to return and turn himself in.
A trooper put down an injured cow elk. The next day, troopers put down a wounded bull elk. Another wounded cow elk ran into the Nehalem River. ODFW said troopers believe it drowned.
The man was cited for Hunting Prohibited Method: Shooting from Roadway; Unlawful Take/Possession of Antlerless Elk; and Unlawful Take/Possession of Bull Elk, ODFW said. Troopers seized a .308 rifle for evidence, along with the elk he had tagged and processed, they added.
The bull elk and cow elk that troopers put down and the cow elk the man had processed were donated, ODFW said. Two elk went to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and one elk went to the Tillamook County Jail.