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Elk slayings in North Bend prompt resident to offer reward

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NORTH BEND - Two elk in North Bend were found shot with arrows on March 18. One was pregnant and died; the other, a calf, ran off with his intestines hanging out.

Ruby Robicheau, a North Bend resident, said the animals were found on her neighbor's lawn near the intersection of 468th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 159th Street. The incident was reported to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife authorities. Wildlife agent Kim Chandler has been investigating the shootings.

Robicheau feels so strongly about the wasteful deeds she said she would be willing to offer a reward for information on the elk poacher.

"I was appalled that someone could be so cruel," Robicheau said. "They were not shot for the meat. They were just left lying there to suffer. I'm concerned about the person out there doing this."

According to Chandler, the female elk, or "cow," had an arrow go all the way through it and an unborn fetus was found inside it.

Chandler said no other elk have been killed so far and there are no suspects. An officer helping with the case found the arrows in both shootings did not match.

"It looks as if they were shot from the road," Chandler said. "We were kind of suspicious that it may be someone living in the neighborhood shooting them off the back porch. But it appears from where we found the other arrow that they are coming in at night and shooting them off the road."

But there is not much to go on, Chandler said. Getting the word out to neighbors is about the best he can do at this point.

"People don't usually leave their driver's license behind," said Chandler, who noted neighbors should stay alert and keep track of suspicious vehicles.

"It's no different than someone breaking into someone's garage in the middle of the night," Chandler said. "And sometimes it's the same folks."

Chandler said the main violation here is hunting during the closed season, though they could also be hunting with an artificial license.

"[Hunting] seasons are closed for a reason," he said. "The first cow had an unborn fetus in it, that's why the season is closed. Many animals breed during spring time."

Chandler said it's not unheard of that the poacher could be trading meat for drugs, but that shooting an animal with an arrow makes it much harder to take, as animals don't drop dead as they do when shot with a gun.

"With an arrow they don't drop dead, so you have to chase them, it takes more time. On the other hand, a gun shot certainly brings attention in the middle of the night. It's pretty stupid to use a bow and arrow."

Anyone with information on the poacher are asked to call the Washington State Patrol at (425) 649-4370.

Staff writer Melissa Kruse can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at melissa.kruse@valleyrecord.com.

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