On Friday, Nov. 13, a Graham County man shot Elk #21 in Cataloochee Valley. What was the guy thinking of? The answer is that he wasn’t thinking.
He had brought a gun in the park (still illegal) and shot a protected animal. There’s no hunting in the national parks and in addition, the elk are protected no matter where they go.
As Bob Miller, the Public Affairs officer for the park said, “he didn’t get the carcass”.
You can imagine that the Elk Bugle Corp message board is full of outrage and sadness. Pat Maier even wrote an obituary about it.
Elk Bull # 21 died on Friday, November 13, 2009. Number 21 was born in Elk
Island, Canada, and moved to Cataloochee Valley from Land Between The
Lakes, Tennessee/Kentucky in 2001. He was 13 years old.
Number 21 was
gunned down by a “low life” while happily living in the meadows in
Cataloochee Valley. He leaves behind a host of brothers and sisters and
several grandchildren. In addition to his family in Cataloochee Valley
and Cherokee, he leaves behind 85 grieving Elk Bugle Corps Members and
several Great Smoky Mountain National Park Rangers who considered him family,
along with thousands of visitors who come to the Valley annually to
visit with the Elk Family there.
No services are planned at this time,
however, many grieve this tragic loss to our family of Elk in
Cataloochee Valley and the surrounding area.
Within those many messages of sadness and condolences about Elk #21, no one made the connection between the elk poaching and guns in the park. And I wasn’t going to stir the pot – I try to stay clear of controversial issues on the EBC Yahoo board.