Park Rangers discovered the body of Bull Elk 21, part of the experimental elk herd that’s been introduced to the Smoky Mountain National Park, in one of the meadows. Investigators have already identified a suspect and an arrest is believed to be eminent.
The suspect in the shooting was found through witnesses’ descriptions of a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche that was seen leaving the area. A National Park Service special agent then located the suspect at his home in Granville County, according to the press release. Park spokesman Bob Miller said it is not policy to release the name of the special agent involved.
Miller said the suspect’s name will be released when charges against him are filed with the U.S. Attorney. Charges should come by the end of the week, he said.
The suspect could be charged with a number of different things including taking of wildlife in a national park or possession of a weapon, said Miller.
He did not know what kind of weapon the suspect used.
Anyone convicted of poaching in national parks can face a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail.
I travel into the valley a few times a year to see the elk and photograph them. This photograph was one I took of the #21 Bull on my last trip in the Cataloochee Valley. The killing of this bull is such a waste and I hope they throw the book at this poacher.