A $25,000 reward hasn’t dissuaded poachers from killing elk near Port Alberni.
A fully butchered elk carcass was found by BC Conservation officers near Klanawa River between Nitihaht and Bamfield, a conservation official said. “The shoulders, hind quarters and backstraps were missing so all the meat is gone,” the spokesperson said.
The discovery came within days of a reward posted by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said Larry Johnston, director of lands and natural resources for the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
“This is disturbing to hear and it pissed me right off when I found out,” Johnston said. “When is this going to stop?”
Initial reports had five elk being found but a BC Conservation Service spokesperson said only one was reported found.
On Dec. 4, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council offered a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is slaughtering elk in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.
As of Dec. 4, 10 elk carcasses have been found around the Klanawa Valley, Franklin Camp, Nahmint and Flora Lake since April, conservation officials reported. The most recent find brings that number to 11.
The herds in the area “can’t sustain any level of harvest and still be able to keep going,” conservation officer Ben York said.
Johnston found out about the additional elk through regular meetings he has with conservation officers, he said.
Tips have come in steadily since the reward was offered, and Johnston sees a pattern emerging as a result.
Johnston believes that there is more than one person or group at work. “There’s a randomness to it: some have been found in Alberni, others in Nahmint and some in Gold River.”
A hunter himself, Johnston also says he believes the culprits practice pit lamping, and that they are very skilled at what they do.
Pit lamping is a method of hunting that uses high powered lights at night. Animals such as a deer or elk continually stare at the light rendering their eyes shiny and giving their position away.
And the hunters aren’t tediously dressing the elk after they’ve killed them the way a proper hunter would, he said.
“These guys are lifting the leg, cutting it through the cartilage where the knuckle is, slicing it, scoring a quick hind quarter and leaving the rest,” he said.
“Done properly, you’d cut through the belly and up the breastbone then pull the guts out. They could have fed more people this way.”
Anyone with information can call the Report All Poachers and Polluters Tip Line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).