East Tennessee man pleads guilty to killing elk

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CARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man is facing 30 days in jail and $350 in restitution after illegally killing an elk in the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.

Sean Doney, 33, of Caryville, pleaded guilty on June 23 to killing a cow elk, according to a release received Wednesday from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The deceased elk was found on Dec. 23 in a food plot in the Red Ash area. The cow elk was wearing a GPS collar as part of a 3-year elk research study with the University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. 

A necropsy by the UT College of Veterinary Medicine concluded the animal had been shot and a bullet was recovered from the carcass.

Doney spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side in January.

Doney said it was not intentional, admitting he did kill the elk. He also apologized saying it was a complete accident.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says Sean Doney, 33, of Caryville, shot this elk on Dec. 23 in the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. He has pleaded guilty and faces 30 days in jail. Source: TWRA

“It’s very sad, and I’m very sorry, I’m very sorry to everyone,” he said.

After a lengthy investigation and assistance from Eighth Judicial District Attorney General Jared Effler’s office, TWRA Wildlife Officer Brenden Marlow charged Doney.

The full list of charges includes hunting big game in a closed season, hunting without a license, hunting without hunter education, illegal take of big game, and failure to retrieve game on a WMA.

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