Thousands of Elk Being Killed: Government Endeavoring to Check it-Not Sportsmen, but Pot Hunters, to Blame, Daily Racing Form, 1919-12-19


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THOUSANDS OF ELK BEING KILLED Government Endeavoring to Check It Not Sportsmen, hut Pot Hunters, to Blame. WASHINGTON. I. C. December 18. The elk question is one that is causing the United States Department of Agriculture no end of thought and considerable worry. It is estimated that there are 70,000 elk in the United States at this time, but lack of proper winter feeding grounds, due to eu-roachlng ranches and illegal hunting, decreases the number by thousands annually. For the past five years the government has done its utmost to check this slaughter of elk, especially in the Yellowstone Park section, where in the neighborhood of 10,000 elk have been spending their summers. These elk drift to lie northern part of the park and to near-by forests with the coming of winter. It is while the elk is changing his home, seeking grass and herbage, that the slaughter takes place. We have read much about the elk dving by the thousands outside of Yellowstone Park, but :i letter from Captain W. II. Richard the other day brought the thing right home. No sportsmen are engaged in the slaughter. Those who limit the elk when he is seeking winter quarters are pot hunters individuals who should be ban-, islicd from every sport. Captain Richard is one of the greatest rifle shots in the world, the winner of tin? I-ech cup this year and on two other occasions since 1000; the winner of the Nevada trophy at Sea Girt, and also a memlier of the .small bore learn that represented America and defeated England this summer. Therefore this letter from Captain Richard is worthy of your consideration: "The heavy and almost unprecedented early fall of snow at Yellowstone Park- lias caused the elk to leave the park in large numbers. On the Livingston Mont. side alone it is estimated that 17.0H elk have come out, of which 2.000 have been killed bv hunters up to this time November 14. "Livingston lias been thronged with hunters of all aires and description, bound for the, hills, above the city to Gardner, at the entrance of the park, and arc hunting singly and in bunches. Reports tell of parties of hunters lying in wait behind rocks and brush aiul firing promisculously into buuehes of elk containing all numbers up. to as high as 200 in a drove. "The main excuse for the slaughter is that the elk will starve anyway before spring and that they should be killed before the starving period. However, the bad feature of the situation lies in the large number of animals that sustain wounds and escape, only to die- later unsecured by the hunters. Special game wardens have been added to the territory "over 1 which the elk are traveling to regulate the slaughter as much as possible, and the tales these game wardens bring to Livingston are both humorous and pathetic. "Sometimes parties of hunters open rapid fire upon a band of elk. or even a single elk. as it crosses a ravine or glade, and often these marksmen fill the air with flying bullets and bits of " rock to the extent that everybody dives for cover and the firing ceases as abruptly as it began, and the hunters are loath to leave such protection as they may have hurriedly found for fear of being mistaken for an elk. Several fatalities have already occurred, but with no apparent effect on the number, of hunters arriving daily to aid in the slaughter. On November; 13 there came down the Gardner rail-way for shipment one hundred and seventy-five elk. This number does not include those brought out by wagons or pack. "One chap had an experience rntiior unique and one which he will probably remember the remainder of his life, no matter how willing he will be to forget. This nimrod arrived with all the latest improved equipment high power rifle, an automatic pistol, knife and hatchet. Being somewhat averse to hill climbing lie rented a saddle horse and rode to the hills after his elk. Reaching a likely spot he tied ids steed and proceeded up the gulch on foot. Crossing a ridge some distance up lie scouted n round for some time and at last located, meat. Carefully stalking the game lit; wormed his way into position and opened fire, sending five shots into what he thought was an elk. After the commotion in the brush subsided the hunter went down to finish butchering, and much to his surprise lie found not ah elk, but the remains of his tied up horse. The saddle was fairly well preserved, having but one bullet hole through it, so he salvaged that and tramped back to Livingston, paid the damages and departed without leaving his name or forwarding address."

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