Elk hunting in Washington State’s Skagit River area came to an abrupt end Dec. 28th and it wasn’t pretty.

The state Wildlife Department says Elk Area 4941 was closed to further hunting because “the harvest objective for the area has been met and the conduct of hunters has become disorderly and unsportsmanlike.”

Elk Area 4941 is near the town of Concrete south and east of Highways 9 and 20.  It’s an area where people either live in town or on large rural lots and roaming elk herds can be troublesome. 

This year’s elk archery season, however, proved to be even more troublesome.

It produced what one resident called a “testosterone-poisoned” circus, what another called “savage and inhumane” and what Game Division Manager Dave Ware said, “lacked discretion.”

What happened was that an elk herd on a beef ranch west of town found itself surrounded by bow hunters on one side and a barbed wire fence on the other.  Soon arrows were sailing into the herd by about a dozen hunters.

Before it was over, seven elk were dead in a scene that neighbors found disgusting, but a Fish & Wildlife officer on the scene did not stop because no laws were being violated.

In addition to the dead elk, some were shot and managed to escape.

Elk hunting was a little bumpy last year in Area 4941.  That’s when Fish & Wildlife licensed hunters with muzzleloaders to shoot elk.  Armed with the muzzleloaders, however, some hunters were firing off shots from the highways or shooting through trees into residences.

But at least last year where was no elk atrocity.   Elk season next year is going to be more restrictive, Ware says.

  • Eric Mills

    I just saw about 50 photos of the slaughter taken by a passer-by. (There was a link in the comments in a newspaper article.) Unbelievable! A herd of about 70 elk surrounded by barbed wire and a dozen ethically-challenged bow hunters. Several elk had two and three arrows embedded in them, and were still alive. A couple of elk became entangled in the barbed wire, entrails were showing on one.
    Those who escaped though wounded will likely die of gangrene or peritonitis–it could take days or weeks. Some “sport”!
    That the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife could deem this massacre a “legal” hunt is beyond me. No wonder hunters are held in such low esteem by so many. Shame on all concerned: the hunters, the landowner, and the Department.
    Some legislation is in order to see that similar atrocities do not occur in the future. It’s also time to take another look at bow hunting. Surely, of all the legal ways to kill a game animal, this is the most ineffective and brutal. Study after study has shown a 50+% crippling loss with bow and arrows, while only 7% with rifles (which is bad enough). When’s the last time you saw a Native American with bow and arrows?
    Bow hunting should be outlawed nationwide.
    Eric Mills, coordinator