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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013 21:21

Elk Deaths in New Mexico

Elk Elk

We at Shotem and Caughtem read a report from Benjamin Radford about a recent mass death of Elk North of Las Vegas, New Mexico that we felt was worth repeating.  With many hunters admiring their prized Elk Tags for their upcoming hunt, the news could be disturbing.

 

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish are puzzling over the mysterious deaths of more than 100 elk, apparently all within a 24-hour period, in rural New Mexico.

The elk were found Aug. 27 on a 75,000-acre ranch north of the city of Las Vegas.  So far wildlife officials have seemingly ruled out most of these possibilities: The elk weren't shot (nor taken from the area), so it was not poachers. Tests have come back negative for anthrax, a bacteria that exists naturally in the region and can kill large animals. There seems to be no evidence of any heavy pesticide use in the area that might have played a role in the die-off.  Though lightning strikes are not uncommon in the Southwest and in New Mexico specifically, killing over 100 animals at one time would be an incredibly rare event. It might be an as-yet unidentified disease, though killing so many at once — and so quickly — would be very unusual. Another possibility is some sort of contamination of the well or water tanks, but so far no toxins have been identified.

Wildlife officials are hopeful that they will be able to identify the cause of death — if for no other reason that it would give peace of mind to ranchers and hunters.

Let us know in the comment section below if you have seen or run across any dead elk in your scouting adventures in the comment section below.  We hope the Elk have not found a bug like the Deer have found here in the Midwest that will deplete the herd further.  As hunters it is our duty to help these organizations find as much evidence as they can to help find out the who, what, when and where.