NEWTON COUNTY, Ark. – Wildlife officers are asking for the public’s help as they try to solve a poaching case in northern Arkansas.
On Sunday, January 29, two bull elk were killed near Newton County Road 3795 — located west of Ponca near the Newton County/Madison County line.
“This was a satellite group of young bulls,” says Major Jason Parker, with the Arkansas Game and Fish Enforcement Division, “so they were the future of the elk as far as reproducing.”
Parker says the two elk were found shot and killed by the property owners around five o’clock Sunday evening. A short time later, the owners saw two men running into the woods, one carrying a gun.
“I don’t know if they thought they were trying to get a personal trophy or if they were actually hunting meat,” says Parker.
The elk population in Arkansas is around 600.
The state does have a hunting season for elk but, even then, only 50 or so permits are issued each year.
“It’s always tough when things like this happen,” he says.
“The illegal elk harvest is not as common as say the white tail deer, because they are so isolated and there’s not as many, but it does happen from time to time.”
Some evidence was recovered at the scene but wildlife officers need the public’s help to try and pull the pieces of the puzzle together.
“If someone in the area may have seen a vehicle that they’re not accustomed to seeing there,” Parker says.
“It may seem really insignificant to the person calling in, “he says, “but that could be the one piece that could tie everything together for the officer.”
The suspects could face charges of hunting out of season and trespassing.
Anyone with information leading to an arrest(s) could receive a reward of up to $1000.
To contact Newton County Wildlife Officer, Kenny Seay at (870) 715-8063.