The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is investigating after three Roosevelt elk were illegally harvested in the Cowichan Lake area between the middle of March and the first week of April.
The first two elk were found near North Shore Road in the Cottonwood Creek area, a sensitive area that is closed to hunting. Further, there is no open season right now.
“It’s unfortunate,” Sgt. Scott Norris said. “When they come so close to the road, they become easy targets.”
The third elk was found off a spur road further up into Mosaic Forest Management land. A gate had been cut open to allow access to the land, but Norris doesn’t know if it was cut by the hunters or by someone else earlier.
“We won’t know unless someone comes forward,” he said.
The repercussions of illegal hunting could be felt in the future.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Norris said. “The elk population is doing well, but they are susceptible to hunting. If this continues, we could see some issues down the road.”
Anyone with information about these incidents should call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
Norris also reminds anyone using the backcountry that bears are waking up this time of year, and to use caution, including locking garbage away.