Elk NetworkBlack Bear Helps Investigators Solve Elk Poaching Case

General | July 23, 2020

It’s like a crime TV show right out of Hollywood but in this case the story is factual and the perpetrators got caught trying to hide the fact that they illegally killed an elk.

“Our favorite case is the bear that solved the elk poaching case,” Kim Frazier, who works for the Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Forensic & Fish Health Laboratory, told the Daily Sentinel.

The lab analyzes forensic evidence for more than a dozen state wildlife agencies.

The story goes like this. Hunters in Colorado illegally shot an elk because they did so in the wrong area. A little later, a black bear sniffed out the dead elk, hopped up onto the pickup and started to eat it. The perpetrators shot the bear and called Colorado Parks and Wildlife claiming it was self-defense.

The investigating officer confiscated the bear carcass and got to work. He later determined the elk was poached because it was taken in the wrong area. Unfortunately, it looked like a dead end because there was not enough evidence to qualify for a search warrant.

“But then he remembered he had the bear in his freezer. We were able to get elk tissue from the bear’s claws and match it to the gut pile where the elk was killed in the wrong area,” Frazier told the Daily Sentinel.

Go here to learn more about how wildlife officials use DNA, GPS and other high-tech methods to solve crimes against wildlife.

For 2020, Remington partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)