DNR: Waterford Twp. man confessed to elk killing
A 51-year-old Waterford Township man has confessed to killing an elk on the first day of firearm deer season in Montmorency County, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The Michigan DNR became aware of the poaching incident after it was contacted on its Report All Poaching (RAP) hot line by a hunter who said he had found a dead elk on Nov. 15 in an area north of Atlanta.
Conservation officers from the Gaylord office of the DNR determined the bull elk had been killed by a single gunshot. After a lengthy investigation, a suspect was identified who confessed to the shooting.
Elk poaching carries fines of up to $2,500, restitution to the state of up to $1,500, loss of the firearm used in the incident and loss of hunting privileges for up to three years.
Charges are under review by the Montmorency County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Good old-fashioned police work by our officers brought this case to a successful end,” DNR Lt. Jim Gorno said. “We continue to encourage the public to be diligent in watching out for our natural resources. Without the hunter calling the RAP Line to report this case, it could have gone unsolved."
This area of the state has been the site of previous cases of elk poaching, according to the DNR.
On Dec. 28, 2013, a large bull elk carcass was discovered near Decheau Lake and Meaford roads near Atlanta in Montmorency County. The elk was illegally killed and parts of the animal were removed.
Although they may at one time have been native to Michigan, the state’s elk herd was severely depleted in the late 19th century by settlement and uncontrolled hunting.
In 1918, seven elk from “various city parks and public institutions” were released near Wolverine (about 30 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge), which formed the foundation of today’s herd estimated to be between 500 and 900 animals.
Anyone with information regarding any incidents is asked to call the DNR Law Division at the Gaylord Customer Service Center at (989) 732-3541 or the 24-hour RAP Line at (800) 292-7800.
Any fish, game or natural resources violation can also be reported to the DNR's RAP Line or with the online reporting form, available at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.
Information leading to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward funded by the Game and Fish Protection Fund. Information also may be left anonymously.