The Department of Natural Resources hopes to get test results back sometime this week on an elk shot by wildlife biologists last Wednesday near Charter Oak in Crawford County. D.N.R. wildlife bureau chief, Dale Garner, says killing the animal was the only way to determine if it carried disease.
“We have absolutely no idea where it came from, so that’s why we worked with the state veterinarian that checks all local producers that have captive livestock such as elk, and since they couldn’t come up with anybody that potentially owned the animal, working with the state vet, he deemed that it was necessary to have the animal tested for any diseases, so that’s why we put the animal down,” Garner said.
The elk is being tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD), which could be spread to the state deer population. Garner says they are also looking for signs of disease that could harm domestic livestock. He says brucellosis and tuberculosis are a big concern for livestock.
The D.N.R. has been criticized in the past when elk have been shot. Some say the animals should be allowed to roam free. “We do get that, and you know while I understand, we also get a lot of complaints about deer, you know the agriculture damage that they do and the damage to people’s automobiles and stuff,” Garner said.
He says elk are much bigger than deer and while some would like to see them in the state, he says that’s not everybody’s opinion. The D.N.R. says and average deer weighs between 500 and 700 pounds, while the average elk is two to three times bigger.