Idaho Fish and Game is asking the public for information regarding a dead spike bull elk in the Mace Meadows area of Hunt Unit 34 sometime during the weekend of September 27-28. After being reported, Fish and Game conservation officers found the rotting carcass of a spike bull elk near the southeastern end of Mace Meadows in the Bear Valley Creek drainage about 10 miles due east of Deadwood Reservoir.
It was determined that the elk had been killed by an arrow, and "extensive evidence was collected at the scene," according to F&G officials. It is being investigated as a case of "wanton waste."
Fish and Game conservation officer Matt O’Connell wants to talk with any eyewitnesses or others who have knowledge of the incident.
“There is always at least one witness to events of this nature,” O’Connell said. “I am hoping that a witness will do the right thing and let us know what happened with this elk.”
Anyone with information can call the CAP hotline at (800) 635-5999, F&G Nampa office at 465-8465 weekdays and Idaho State Police at 846-7550 on weekends.
According to Evin Oneale, F&G's regional conservation educator, the animal was not processed after being killed, and it may be a case where an animal was hit with an arrow by a hunter and lost, or it could be a case where an elk was abandoned and wasted. That's what F&G is trying to find out.
The incident raises a situation hunters should consider when out this fall. This could be a criminal case, or an unfortunate case where a hunter did his (or her) best to recover an animal and couldn't find it, or found it and it was already spoiled.
Oneale said if a hunter shoots an animal and later finds it dead and the meat spoiled, the hunter should report the incident to F&G. A conservation officer will investigate the case, and according Oneale, has the discretion to determine if a violation occurred.
It's understandably a delicate situation for hunters. Losing a big game animal is frustrating and heartbreaking. Adding a citation on top of that would be maddening.
But the flip side is a case like this where a conservation officer has to treat the dead elk like a crime scene, which takes time and effort that might be better spent elsewhere. If the officer had a report of animal hit and lost in the area, it could be a different situation.