Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina man confesses to poaching elk in GSMNP

November 17, 2009, 7:19 am

A North Carolina man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a bull elk inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

GSMNP spokesman Bob Miller said rangers found a bull carcass around 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13. It was lying along the edge of a pasture in the Cataloochee area of Haywood County, North Carolina.

According to Miller, authorities believed the animal had been shot. The body was taken the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy. That report hasn't yet been received. Park rangers, a National Park Service Special Agent and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission launched an immediate investigation.

Miller said a vehicle description led investigators to Granville County, North Carolina. An NPS Special Agent traveled to the county and located the suspect at his home. The individual reportedly confessed to poaching the elk, according to Miller.

The suspect's name isn't being released, pending the filing of charges. Those convicted of poaching in a national park can face up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000. Offenders also can be forced to forfeit the weapon and vehicle used in the crime.