Wildlife police investigating after five elk shot and left to rot

The incident likely occurred about a week ago.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers are investigating an incident after five elk were found shot, killed and left to rot in a forest area south of Cosmopolis.

“It’s just a disgraceful act,” said wildlife officer Sgt. Brian Alexander. “A terrible waste and a disgraceful act.”

The first elk was found by a forestry worker in a logging area south of Cosmopolis near Highway 101 referred to locally as the Ray Anderson area on Jan 12., according to the news release.

“This is not the act of a hunter. This is the act of a poacher or poachers. This is not the act of a sportsman,” Alexander said. “They are criminals and we will do everything we can to hold them accountable.”

After the first dead elk was reported, four other corpses were located nearby, said the department. All were located nearby each other and examination indicates they were shot with a high-powered centerfire rifle. No material was harvested from the corpses, Alexander said.

“Nothing. Absolutely no attempt to salvage anything or recover any meat,” Alexander said. “It was just a plain old elk massacre.”

The killing is believed to have taken place between Jan. 10 and Jan. 12.

“The contractors and Weyerhaeuser security were able to say, they were definitely here this day and definitely not here this day,” Alexander said.

Similar massacres of elk are rare but not unheard of, Alexander said.

“It doesn’t happen very often. In my career we’ve had several of these. We’ve made good on a couple of them,” Alexander said. “We need a little help from the public. Somebody knows something. Somebody knows who did it.”

Members of the public with information about the killings are asked to contact the department by calling 360-902-2936 x 1 or online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/enforcement/report or reportpoaching@dfw.wa.gov. Anyone with information could receive a cash reward or be compensated with extra hunting points.

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@thedailyworld.com.