Wildlife officers investigating illegal elk killings near Ellensburg

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- State wildlife officers are investigating after five elk were found shot and killed north of Ellensburg.

The Daily Record in Ellensburg reports that four elk calves and one cow were killed and their carcasses left to rot on Nov. 6 between Schnebly and Coleman canyons.

“This is the worst elk poaching incident in recent years,” Chase Gunnell of Conservation Northwest told the newspaper. “It was particularly egregious.”

“I can think of no sane reason why somebody would shoot into a herd like that and leave them to rot on a hillside.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife says it's illegal to hunt elk calves. Hunting female elk requires a special permit.

Morgan Grant, a sergeant with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, says his agency is asking the public for help. There are no suspects at this time.

The nonprofit group Conversation Northwest has offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible. The Safari Club International has offered a $1,000 award.