Last week, three elk were killed in Haywood County, prompting an investigation from the NCWRC. It turns out, these were legal killings of elk that had been causing extensive damage to a landowner’s property. Under these conditions, it is legal to kill elk, even without a depredation permit, as long as the landowner does not intend to claim the meat.

In this instance, everything was done legally, and the landowner, whose name has not been released, followed protocol exactly as the NCWRC instructs landowners in this situation to do. 

After shooting the elk, the landowner called the NCWRC to report it, according to Lt. Sam Craft of the Commission’s law enforcement division.

“It’s not looking like a criminal investigation,” said Craft, who added that investigators found plenty of evidence of elk damage on the property.

NCWRC wildlife biologist Justin McVey responded to the landowner’s call, and went to the site to collect samples, and to make sure the bodies were properly disposed of.

Even before this incident, farmers in Haywood County had been frustrated over damages incurred by elk, and recently voiced their concerns at an NCWRC meeting about the proposed opening of an elk hunting season in the western part of the state.

One of the farmers, Ronnie Ross, whose farm lies in the Jonathan Creek area, said he has to deal with elk on an almost daily basis. He said it’s common for elk to stomp out the land, destroying crops and pasture land. Elk will also intimidate farmers’ animals like cows and dogs, Ross said.

“I wasn’t responsible for the taking of these elk, but I understand the frustration people are experiencing. Without extensive fencing measures, there is little that can be done to keep them out. Dealing with elk has become an almost daily occurrence,” he said.

The NCWRC, along with farmers and other landowners, are hoping the proposed elk season passes and becomes law in time for a hunting season later this year.

Click here to read the original article on the elk killings.