SHANNON COUNTY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) seeks information in the case of an elk calf that was shot. Conservation agents report the calf was born in the Log Yard area of Shannon County July 13 and was fitted with a VFH radio collar July 14 with the identification number 1829. The calf still had its spots when it was found shot next to a road just weeks later. The lengthy investigation has led conservation agents to seek information from the public.
“The complex forensic work of this investigation and the very tedious evidence analysis has made this a lengthy investigation,” Acting Protection Chief Dean Harre said.
It’s standard procedure for MDC’s elk research crew to catch and assess calves in the wild immediately after birth. This enables the team to monitor the animals’ growth and collect information about their movements. In this case, just a few weeks after the elk was born, the team received a mortality signal from the radio collar, leading them to find it lying next to a road, shot in the head.
MDC’S Ozark Regional Protection Supervisor Gerald Smith said this is the second known elk poaching incident in the region. The first was a mature bull that was killed in December 2015. In that case, the poachers removed the bull’s antlers with a chain saw and left it otherwise untouched in the woods where it fell, likely because of its size.
“Elk calf 1829 wasn’t yet the size of a small deer, so its placement next to a road might have been driven by the poacher’s desire for attention,” Smith said.
Smith said it’s important to note that poaching is not hunting, and poachers are not hunters.
“These poaching incidents are ethically