PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said a 66-year-old man who shot a herd of elk in Tillamook County blamed the shooting on “elk fever” when turning himself in to the police.
ODFW reported the shooting on Thursday afternoon, though the incident took place months prior in January. The department said the perpetrator killed one elk and severely injured at least three others while illegally shooting at the herd from the road.
Oregon wildlife officials said the man had his gun pointed toward a highway, as well.
On the day of the shooting, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers responded to a call from a tip hotline, finding three wounded elk. They later reported that one cow elk was put down due to injuries, and a fourth elk had already been tagged by the perpetrator.
The next day, wildlife officials said one of the remaining elk likely drowned after running into the Nehalem River. The troopers also had to put down another mortally wounded bull elk. The animals were donated to local tribes and a jail.
The suspect claimed he had permission to hunt from the property owner, who later told officials of seeing the suspect field-dress a carcass before leaving.
“The guy came out and stopped at the road, and started shooting,” the landowner, who asked to remain anonymous, told the ODFW. “I told another hunter, who said the guy shouldn’t have left. He should have called state police and turned himself in.”
The landowner called the perpetrator and told him to turn himself in to the ODFW. When he did, wildlife officials said the man showed remorse blamed his actions on “elk fever.”
The suspect’s identity has not been released amid the ongoing investigation. He has been cited for shooting from a roadway, unlawfully taking or possessing an antlerless elk, and unlawfully taking or possessing a bull elk.