A 14-year-old girl in central Missouri has bagged the state’s first elk, thinking it was a “massive deer.”
“I was like, you gotta be kidding me right now,” 14-year-old Abby Wilson told The Columbia Missourian newspaper.
It is illegal to shoot an elk in Missouri, said spokesperson Robert Hemmelgarn, Missouri Department of Conservation. Missouri does have free-ranging elk, but the department did not know of any in Boone County, he said. The animal had been re-introduced about 200 miles away from where Abby killed the animal.
“To see one in Boone County is out of the ordinary,” Hemmelgarn said.
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A photo that has been widely shared on social media, taken by her father, shows a smiling Abby with the massive elk.
The elk carcass was being tested for chronic wasting disease, which also afflicts deer. If it passes, the meat might be donated to a food bank in the area, according to USA Today.
A regional supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conversation said the antlers may be used as an educational tool to help hunters learn the difference between a whitetail deer buck and an elk buck.
“She saw antlers, she saw the body. She thought it was a deer and took the shot,” said supervisor Tom Strother. “This young girl probably had never seen an elk in the wild before. The dad certainly did the right thing by immediately calling us.”