Mich. DNR investigates elk killing during deer season
Montmorency Township — Officials investigating the death of a bull elk in Montmorency County believe the hunter may have thought he was shooting at a whitetail deer.
The elk was slain Nov. 15 in Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula during whitetail deer rifle season.
The 23-year-old hunter from Ohio was hunting with his father in a wooded area of Montmorency Township, Michigan Department of Natural Resources District Law Supervisor Lt. Jim Gorno said.
Lighting conditions were low and the elk was among a group of deer.
“The hunter realized his mistake and immediately reported it to the DNR,” said Gorno, adding that the hunter only may face a fine if it’s determined the elk was killed by mistake and not from poaching.
“We probably won’t prosecute him in the courts and he will have to pay restitution for the animal, which would probably be $1,500,” Gorno said.
Elk being shot during deer hunting season does occur, but often goes unreported, he added.
Poaching can fetch up to 30 days in jail and more than $4,000 in costs and fines. Hunting privileges also can be lost for up to four years.
Michigan’s elk herd has 600 to 800 animals and mostly is centered in the Pigeon River State Forest in Montmorency County, Gorno said.