The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) is investigating potential poaching following the discovery of three elk carcasses near Cowichan Lake.
The discoveries were made Sunday, and Jeff Demille, who discovered them, says the elk were recently killed, and he’s worried they were illegally harvested.
“Sickening,” he said. “Three carcasses in one night. All fresh. The birds were all just getting into it.”
Demille found the first carcass near the western tip of Cowichan Lake. It’s near the boundary of where there is currently a limited legal hunt, but the other two were south of Cowichan Lake, well outside a hunting area.
“A 500 and 600-pound animal isn’t going to be hunted in one area and then have parts left in another, so they were shot right then and there on the side of the road,” said Demille.
Demille reported all three to the BC COS, which confirms it’s investigating the unlawful harvesting of several elk in the Cowichan region.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) says at least two of the elk carcasses appear to be obvious cases of poaching, which is a real concern.
“Very concerning, I would say, in this case, especially where if you don’t have a hunt because we have lower population numbers and so every animal kind of counts,” said Jesse Zeman, the federation’s executive director.
Elk poaching is nothing new in the Cowichan Valley. In 2020, the COS reported being called to 15 different sites where elk were illegally harvested in a single month.
The BCWF has a free app to help combat the problem.
“Where you can take time-referenced geo-snap pictures or video on your phone to report this kind of activity. The app works in and out of service, so even if you don’t have cell service, you can still use it wherever you are,” said Zeman.
“The other thing the BCWF does offer is a reward for up to $2,000 for any kind of report that leads to a conviction related to poaching.”
Demille hopes someone will provide the necessary information to authorities to hold the poacher responsible.