Conservation officers are still looking for a key clue to help them solve a year-old mystery of who illegally shot the dominant bull elk of a small herd near Falkland.
For conservation reasons there is no open season for elk in that area, so it was a particularly unfortunate loss, explains Kelowna Conservation Officer Jesse Jones, who is investigating the case.
“That elk was one animal that everyone in the province lost when it was shot,” commented Jones. “All fall and summer people could drive by and enjoy seeing that small herd. And, he was a beautiful animal; an excellent specimen—and now he’s missing from that herd. It’s just senseless.
“We expect hunters to be stewards. It’s a privilege to be able to go out in the wilderness with a gun. There are hunting regulations and hunters are expected to consult them before shooting,” he added.
The shooter was driving a distinctive vehicle, a light-coloured or white GMC or Chev diesel pickup truck, likely between 2004 and 2008, with a lift kit installed and company decals.
There was an ATV with antlers attached to it in the box at the time of the poaching, but the driver was wearing street clothes according to a witness who saw the truck.
Jones feels the driver may travel this route between Kamloops and the Okanagan regularly for work.
The six-point bull elk was shot at about 10 a.m. Oct. 5, 2010 seven kilometres west of Falkland, just east of the highway maintenance yard on Highway 97.
The suspect is believed to have been driving east towards Falkland when he stopped and shot the big elk from just off the highway, says Jones.
He says he’s been following up leads and interviewing witnesses who were in the area at the time, as well as following other investigative options, but he’d like to hear from anyone who knows anything about the shooting—or from the shooter himself.
The suspect did e-mail the CO service that same afternoon confessing to shooting the elk and saying he phoned a friend to find out the rules for shooting off the highway, but he admitted he didn’t check the regulations. He said when he got back to his truck after shooting it, he received a text from his friend saying he should not shoot it, so he panicked and fled.
When he came back he said he saw a vehicle there, so he panicked and left again.
He apologized for being a coward, but did not turn himself in or sign the e-mail.
If you have any information which might help complete the investigation, you can report it on the anonymous toll-free Report All Poachers and Polluters line at: 1-877-952-7277.