The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says an elk was shot by the Iowa State Patrol in northern Iowa Wednesday. D.N.R. spokesman Kevin Baskins say the elk was first spotted by motorists. He says the elk was spotted south of Clear Lake near the Burchinal exit.
Baskins says they believe the elk was held on farm at one time as the closest wild populations of elk are northern Wisconsin, northwest Nebraska or southwest South Dakota. Baskins says calls to elk owners in the area failed to turn up the owner, and the decision was then made to shoot the animal.
Baskins says it was a 600-pound animal that was close to the interstate and they were concerned it might get onto the interstate. He says the other concern was the potential for the animal carrying diseases that could be spread to the wild population of animals. Baskins says samples were taken to test for disease.
He says the meat usually goes to the prison system in these cases, and the head is being offered to a group that might want to use it for educational purposes, such as at a conservation center. While elk sightings are rare, they aren’t unheard of in Iowa.
Baskin says they’ve had a couple of reports of elk in Allamakee County and reports they’re trying to track in Linn County. The elk was full grown, but did not have any tags that are required for animals on farms.