An wayward elk that had wandered around central Iowa has been found dead — and the Department of Natural Resources is looking for help in finding the killer. Conservation officer Jeremy King says the elk was reported wandering in Jasper, Marshall and Story counties in November. King says the animal was found dead near Clemons in late December during the first shotgun deer season.
King says the animal died from a shotgun slug to the neck and he does not believe it was an accident. King says, “There’s no hunter out there that would mistake this animal for a deer. It weighs 800 to a thousand pounds, roughly three times the size of a deer. Elk antlers are much, much larger, and the coloration isn’t nearly the same.” King says this is a case of poaching where the person deliberately shot the animal for “recognition or to come back and get the antlers.” King says the elk had what’s called “five-by-five” antlers, five points on each side.
Elk are not normally found in Iowa, and King says they’re not sure where this animal came from. King says the animal had no tears in its ears, where identification tags would have been torn off. Animals that are privately owned usually have tattoos inside their lips, but King says this animal had no lip tattoos. The animal was found on private property and King says they’re looking for any clues to help identify the shooter.
King says the elk was last seen alive on the Monday following the first shotgun season. He says the landowner lets anyone hunt, so it’s hard to tell who may’ve shot the animal. King is asking for the public’s help in finding the person who illegally killed the animal.
King says the Whitetails Unlimited organizations is offering a reward and the person could also be eligible for a reward from the “Turn in Poachers” hotline. King says the Whitetails group is offering up to 15-hundred dollars and the TIP reward would be decided by a panel. King says you can call him at 641-751-5246, or call the Turn In Poachers hotline at 1-800-532-2020.