TWRA seeks information on bull elk poaching incident

Published 3:39 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2023

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has launched an investigation into the illegal poaching of a bull elk in Anderson County that occurred on Sunday, Oct. 8. TWRA received reports of the poaching incident on the same day and promptly initiated an inquiry, revealing that the animal had been killed with what seemed to be a bolt wound.
In response to the incident, TWRA officers seized the elk’s head as evidence, and the carcass was processed to support the Hunters for the Hungry program. The processing was generously provided by the Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association (CORA).
Officer Caleb Hardwick of TWRA emphasized the seriousness of poaching in Tennessee, stating, “Poaching is a serious offense in Tennessee. The TWRA has been working diligently since 2000 to restore the elk population to a huntable size. Poaching is not only illegal but also threatens restoration efforts that ensure Tennesseans have the opportunity to legally hunt these animals.”
To support the investigation and encourage public cooperation, a reward fund totaling $3,000 has been established, with contributions from CORA, The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, and the National Wild Turkey Federation Pine Mountain Longbeards Chapter. These rewards are available to individuals who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the poacher. Details such as the individual’s name or description, vehicle tag number or description, and the location of the offense can significantly assist TWRA in the pursuit of wildlife poachers. All information shared with TWRA is treated with the utmost confidentiality. Those with information about the poacher are encouraged to contact the East Tennessee Regional Poaching Hotline at 1-800-831-1174.
Elk hunting is regulated in Tennessee through a quota permit system, with the next application period for elk quota hunts set for February 7-28, 2024. Nineteen quota permits are issued in designated Elk Hunt Zones. While legal deer hunters are permitted to harvest elk incidentally to deer hunting on both private and public lands open for deer hunting, specific areas, including Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Scott, Morgan counties, and the Big South Fork River Recreation Area, are exceptions.
For comprehensive information about legal elk hunting opportunities in Tennessee, including quota hunt application dates and elk hunting units, please visit

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