Elk NetworkRMEF Adds $1,000, Reward Increased to $4,000 to Find Tennessee Elk Poacher

General , Poaching | October 13, 2023

Below is a news release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Since its posting, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation donated $1,000, increasing the overall reward total to $4,000. RMEF has a lengthy conservation history in Tennessee. Dating back to 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 114 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects there with a combined value of more than $4.5 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 79,422 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 78,388 acres. RMEF also helped with the successful restoration of elk to their native Tennessee range in 2000. For 2023, Fiocchi partnered with RMEF to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is seeking information related to a bull elk that was illegally poached in Anderson County on Sunday, October 8, 2023. TWRA was notified on Sunday that a bull elk that had been killed. Upon investigation, the entire carcass was located with what appeared to be a bolt wound.

The elk head was taken into custody by officers as evidence and the carcass was taken in for processing to support the Hunters for the Hungry program. Processing was donated by the Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association (CORA).

“Poaching is a serious offense in Tennessee,” said TWRA Officer Caleb Hardwick “The TWRA has been working diligently since 2000 to restore the elk population to a huntable size. Poaching is not only illegal, but it threatens restoration efforts that ensure Tennesseans have the opportunity to legally hunt these animals.”

$3,000 in reward funding was generously donated by CORA, The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, and the National Wild Turkey Federation Pine Mountain Longbeards Chapter to support the investigation. Rewards are available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the poacher. Information such as the individual’s name or description, vehicle tag number or description, and location of the offense would greatly assist the TWRA in apprehending wildlife poachers. All information received by TWRA is kept in strict confidence. Individuals with information about the poacher can contact the East Tennessee Regional Poaching Hotline at 1-800-831-1174.

Elk harvest is regulated by a quota permit system. The next application period for elk quota hunts is Feb 7-28, 2024. Nineteen (19) quota permits are issued in designated Elk Hunt Zones. A legal deer hunter may harvest an elk incidental to deer hunting on private and public lands open to deer hunting except in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Scott, and Morgan counties and except for Big South Fork River Recreation Area.

(Photo credit: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)