Conservation officers are on the lookout for whoever shot a Roosevelt elk close to South Forks Road last week.
Nanaimo resident Bob Read came across the carcass while out for a walk with his wife Thursday evening along the gravel road next to the power lines.
The pair had only gone about 200 metres along the gravel road when they came upon the adult cow, shot once in the chest and once in the head, but otherwise completely intact.
“It was as big as a horse,” said Read.
“They’re beautiful animals.”
What bothered him, other than that admiring elk in the wild is a highlight of his walks, was how close the shooting took place to a busy road and the fact it appears someone shot the animal for the sake of killing it alone, as no attempt had been made to remove the meat.
“The memory of that elk will stay with us,” said Read.
“These people aren’t poaching, they’re merely shooting.”
Stuart Bates, a provincial conservation officer, believes the animal, a fully grown female, was shot early Thursday morning.
Bates said not only was the elk shot close to a heavily travelled road – if the elk was standing upright, motorists could have seen it from the road – but also efforts are being made to increase the herd, as while not on the endangered species list, the elk are also not overly abundant here.
Limited entry hunting regulations stipulate that only four elk can be shot in the Nanaimo Lakes region each year.
The adult cow may have had a calf with her and if so, the shooting has also reduced the calf’s chances of survival, Bates added.
He said officers have found at least six elk shot illegally in the past year, but all the rest have been much further in the bush, up by the Nanaimo Lakes and some had the meat removed.
“This is the first elk I’ve seen shot in August,” he said. “It’s usually done in the wintertime.”
Anyone who saw anything suspicious in that area last week is asked to call the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-952-7277.