VAN BUREN, Mo. (KFVS) - A $20,000 reward is being offered for information on an elk poaching investigation.
Missouri’s Operation Game Thief is offering the reward for information leading to the conviction of the poacher(s) that shot a female adult elk and left it for dead.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is asking the public’s help after the dead elk was found on National Park property in Carter County, near the end of M Highway, on Monday, Nov. 18.
According to MDC, no meat or other parts were taken and by the time conservation agents found the elk, the meat was no longer salvageable for donation.
This is the sixth elk killed by poachers over the past several years. Investigations into each incident are ongoing. MDC Protection Division Chief Randy Doman said it is important that the public cooperate and help bring those responsible to justice.
OGT is an effort of the Mo. Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri to work with the public to help catch poachers.
“The restoration of elk in Missouri is appreciated by many people, businesses, and organizations in the area,” Doman said. “A healthy, growing elk population brings significant economic, recreational, and cultural benefits to these communities. The senseless waste of the people’s resources should not be tolerated.”
Agents are asking that anyone with information related to this investigation call Operation Game Thief 1-800-392-1111 or the MDC Ozark Regional Office in West Plains, Mo. at 417-256-7161.
Elk were found throughout the state of Missouri but by the mid-1880s market hunting had erased any trace of free-ranging elk from Missouri. Elk were reintroduced into Missouri in 2011 and now free-ranging elk herds of nearly 200 are in parts of Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties.