Over the weekend a large group of hunters surrounded an elk heard on three sides and opened fire. The incident that killed close to 50 elk and reportedly injuring others has received backlash from people online as well as people from the community including wildlife officers.
According to Montana Right Now, Close to 100 hunters descended on a herd of elk in Meagher County, Montana. The group open fire and killed around 50 elk and injured others.
Wildlife Officers were present at the incident and issued citations to six people for shooting from a road or not having the proper license. Wildlife officers confirmed that only a small fraction of hunters broke the law and the ones that did only face minor charges with fines ranging from $50 to $1000 with the possibility of a few years of lost hunting privileges.
So even though everything appears to be legal with the situation, Montana FWP’s information bureau chief, Greg Lemon spoke out agianst the incident saying it was unsafe.
“If they miss they might hit the elk they’re not intending to hit, or if they do hit the elk the bullet might pass through and wound the elk that’s behind it,” said Lemon. And then obviously if there are hunters on three sides of these elk then it’s really challenging not to have hunters not be shooting at each other.”
He also indicted he felt the incident was unethical
“The vast majority of hunters do things legally and ethically, and hopefully circumstances like this give other hunters pause and say, ‘We can do better as a group,’ and take it upon themselves to go make a little extra effort to promote ethical hunting,” said Lemon.
People both online and in the community are extremely upset about what went down. Comments on KFBB’s Facebook post are calling for lifetime hunting bans and jail time for those that took part.
Cristie Merriman Mitchell – That is not hunting. That’s just a slaughter. They should all lose their right to hunt for a 10-year minimum (I honestly feel they should lose that right indefinitely
John Koch – Please advise where these pathetic morons were from. Hopefully FWP will ring ’em up on every possible charge on the books; prosecute; go for maximum fines; confiscate their weapons and ban from hunting for EVER… No excuse – absolutely no…flippen’ excuse..
Penni Dugan – Lock them up! Take away all hunting Privileges For LifeNo self control
These are just a few of the comments that people are making about the incident. I was unable to find any comments defending the hunter’s actions. As hunters, we are constantly under the microscope and incidents like this do not paint hunting in a favorable light. Just because something is legal that does not mean it is ethical.
Note: I thought long and hard whether or not I should refer to the people taking part in this incident as “Hunters.” and not “Poachers.” I decided that hunters were appropriate not because I condone the incident but because it was legal.
Poaching refers to the illegal taking of game and all the game taken, not counting the six poachers that were cited, was legal. So while I understand the apprehension of some people who refer to themselves as hunters to identify with these people. I felt this was the best way to show that even though the vast majority of hunters are good ethical people we still have some blemishes among us and need to do our best to encourage them to think and act with proper ethics.