A 14-year-old girl who accidentally shot a protected elk will find out her consequences soon, as the state figures out what to do with the elk.
Abby Wilson, who lives in central Missouri, was hunting with her father when she shot what she thought was a white-tailed deer. She made the shot with her .243-caliber rifle.
It turned out to be an elk, which is rare for Boone County and is a protected animal. Abby’s father, Donald White, called the Missouri Department of Conservation right away, and reported the mistake, which is a violation of the state wildlife code.
The state has not yet decided whether Abby will be cited or warned.
The photo of Abby with the elk went viral, and White told KSDK that he is upset over some of the nasty comments aimed at his daughter, calling it bullying. “Don’t come at my daughter saying, ‘Lock her away,’” he said. “Wow. If my daughter gets fined, I’ll pay it and move on.”
The investigation is ongoing, and the elk’s body is being tested for chronic wasting disease. If it is clear, the meat may be donated to needy families and the antlers used for educational displays to help hunters learn the difference between a whitetail deer and an elk. The family will not be permitted to keep any part of it, according to news reports. It took five men to load the elk’s body into a truck.
The Department of Conservation has recently reintroduced elk in parts of Missouri, according to USA Today, as the species had been absent from Missouri for more than 150 years. But the elk Abby shot was more than 200 miles away from that herd. The Columbia Missourian reported that genetic tests will be conducted to determine the elk’s origin, since it had no tags or markers.