Idaho Fish and Game has a news release today on the elk.
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||September 8, 2006
Governor Risch authorizes immediate harvesting of escaped elk
JAMES E. RISCH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Brad Hoaglun
September 7, 2006
BOISE – Governor Jim Risch signed an emergency Executive Order today authorizing the immediate destruction of all domestic elk that recently escaped from an elk farm in eastern Idaho.
“There is a crisis facing our elk herds in eastern Idaho. Because of the escape of domestic elk that was not reported as required by law, we now have these farm-raised elk mingling with our wild elk herds,” said Risch. The Executive Order I have signed authorizes the employees of Fish and Game and the Department of Agriculture to immediately harvest these domestic elk. The order will also allow the Fish and Game Commission to put into place emergency rules to authorize licensed hunters and private property owners to take these elk without a tag. This emergency action is being taken to protect our wild elk herds in Idaho. There is a serious risk of disease and an altered gene pool from these domestic elk and I am authorizing these activities to begin at the earliest time possible.”
Governor Risch held an emergency meeting Thursday with employees of the Fish and Game and Agriculture to develop an action plan to eradicate the escaped domestic elk.
On August 14 a complaint was filed with state agencies about some domestic elk had escaped from a private elk ranch in Fremont County. It is estimated that 160 elk had escaped through a hole in the fence. Attempts to recapture the animals have had only limited success.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has given 24 hours notice that they will adopt emergency rules that will allow licensed elk hunters and private property owners to harvest the domestic elk. The Commissioners will meet by conference call at 3 p.m. Friday.
Domestic elk are required to have two identify marks and ear tagging is the common method for marking. The identification tags from the harvested elk must be reported to the local Fish and Game office. While not required, tissue samples from the domestic elk is being requested to allow further testing of the animal.
The Department of Agriculture has oversight of elk farms in the state, but state law does not require the licensure of the facilities.