Conservation officers are looking to the public for help after an elk was shot with a crossbow in Cowichan.
Officer Robin Sano said the male elk was shot near Highway 18, about three kilometres west of the Skutz Falls area between Duncan and Lake Cowichan, likely sometime on Nov. 22-23.
He said the elk was shot just below the shoulder blade, and there was no attempt to claim the animal, or butcher it for food.
“It was just left there,” Sano said.
“This has become an almost weekly occurrence. We expect the elk was shot at night because there is less traffic on the highway. We’ve been seeing a lot of hunting at night lately when the hunters use lights to spot the elk.”
Sano said anyone who has seen anything suspicious in that area during that time frame is encouraged to call conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.
There have been at least four elk poached illegally from the Mesachie Lake area over the last two months.
For 30 years, a moratorium on hunting elk was in place across the province, allowing the population to rebound.
Those who qualify for what is called a limited entry hunting draw are the only hunters other than local First Nations communities with agreements in place with the province, who can legally hunt elk.
Fines for illegally hunting elk can run anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 and can include the seizure of vehicles, hunting guns and other equipment.
Conservation officers and wildlife scientists have stated there could be long-term detrimental impacts to the local elk population if poaching continues.