Local conservation officers are looking to the public to help identify those who shot and killed an elk with a crossbow along Highway 18 last week. (Submitted photo)

Robert Barron column: Elk poachers should be punished

I could only imagine the fate of these bozos if those east coast hunters ever got hold of them.

I found the picture of the dead elk that was found by the side of Highway 18 late last month with an arrow sticking out of its side disturbing.

The picture was sent to the Citizen by conservation officers who were looking for assistance in finding the culprit(s).

It wasn’t so much that the person or people who committed this horrendous crime likely didn’t have a hunting licence to legally take down the elk that upset me, it was simply the fact that they left it to rot without even an attempt to harvest any of the meat.

Other than the arrow that took its life, there were no signs of any human activity near the animal; which means that it was shot and probably immediately abandoned as these juvenile-minded people went to find some other activity to entertain them.

It seems obvious to me that these culprits could care less that they took out such an impressive looking creature just for their own amusement.

I can’t help think what would have happened to these guys if they were caught doing that where I spent much of my youth; in hunting and fishing communities on the east coast of Canada.

Moose was and still is king there, and there are enough of them to ensure a sufficient number of hunting licences are issued to see almost every family in each community get at least a quarter of one to last them through the winter months, and beyond.

Moose are huge creatures, the largest of the deer family, and just one can feed several families for some time.

I was never much of a hunter, but I’ve seen my friends and colleagues take down moose in clean and humane kills numerous times, and then meticulously clean and quarter them right at the kill site so that the fresh meat was not spoiled by leakage from the animal’s inner organs.

The proper cleaning of moose, rabbits, fish and other prey is a skill that has been passed down through the ages in those communities.

Moose meat was so prevalent when I lived there that the supermarket in the main town nearby would hardly have any meat from other sources for sale at all.

The only meat available at the store were anonymous frozen chunks in the deep freeze with no labels, so that you took your chances on exactly what kind of meat you bought and would only find out when it was thawed and cooked.

This has been a way of life for these industrious people for generations and I could only imagine the fate of these bozos who killed the elk on Highway 18 if those east coast hunters ever got hold of them.

The worst of it is that the dead elk on Highway 18 isn’t even an isolated case.

There have been at least four more instances of elk poaching near Mesachie Lake in the past two months, and concerned conservation officers are having trouble tracking these criminals down.

If anybody has any idea as to who would be responsible for such a travesty, you should call 1-877-952-7277 and report them.

They are wasteful, uncaring and threaten the few herds of wild elk left on Vancouver Island.

They deserve whatever the authorities can throw at them.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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