VANCOUVER, Wash.– The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is asking for citizens' help in identifying individuals responsible for killing several bull elk recently in the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area south of State Route 504 in southwest Washington.
Two WDFW employees checking the wildlife area Tuesday found three dead bull elk with the antlers cut off. The backstrap, a valued cut of meat similar to tenderloin in cattle, had been taken from one animal.
Department enforcement officers are continuing to investigate the incident.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact WDFW's poaching hotline at 1 (800) 477-6224 or the WDFW Southwest Washington regional office at (360) 696-6211.
It is illegal in Washington state to cut antlers from elk; however collection of naturally-shed antlers is allowed. The wildlife area is closed to hunting year-round.
The dead elk were found on the wildlife area about a mile and a half from the highway. The wildlife area, which WDFW owns and manages, is a winter haven for elk that migrate from higher elevations during winter months in search of forage. Over 400 elk are estimated to have used the site this past winter.
WDFW enforcement officers have conducted special patrols recently in response to several other elk poaching incidents earlier this year closer to State Route 504. So far, no suspects have been located in connection with those incidents.