14-Year-Old Girl Bullied for Shooting an Elk


14-Year-Old Girl Bullied for Shooting an Elk

So a father and daughter go deer hunting in northern Missouri. Daughter kills a large four-legged antlered beast, and father rushes to the scene, only to find a dead elk.

Dang it.

There was no expectation of elk in the area; even MO wildlife managers have no idea how the animal came to be there. A Missouri conservation agent said, “Frankly, it’s got us stumped.”

The girl’s father immediately saw that it was a young bull elk rather than a buck deer, and he reportedly called the conservation department right away. At first, they didn’t even believe him.

Doerhoff said he was surprised to get that call and thought it probably wasn’t an elk, noting that animal misidentifications are very common.

“The dad sent me a photo to my phone and it was very clear that, yes, that’s an elk,” Doerhoff said. “You don’t expect to see something like that. I’ve learned to never say never.”

The elk was more than 200 miles away from the nearest known wild elk herd. But regardless of that, MO has no elk hunting season. Still, it’s being viewed as an honest mistake.

Strother said the circumstances of how the elk was shot are still being investigated, but so far there have been no enforcement actions against the young hunter.

“She saw antlers, she saw the body. She thought it was a deer and took the shot,” Strother said. “This young girl probably had never seen an elk in the wild before. The dad certainly did the right thing by immediately calling us.”

As for the critter itself, the gal who made the mistake apparently won’t be feeding her family with it.

The elk carcass currently is being held in a cooler and the meat might be donated to a needy family if it passes the CWD test. Strother said it’s possible the elk’s antlers might be used as an educational display to help hunters know the difference between a white-tail deer and an elk.

Beyond the obvious story, there’s a cruel undertone to this incident; the horrible way many people have attacked the young girl online. Comments on a Facebook post have reportedly ranged from cruel to critical to supportive.

One comment said, “There is a clear difference between an elk and a whitetail. I’d hate to be anywhere near someone with a gun who could not tell the difference. Shame on her…”

I say, shame on you for picking on a young girl who has just learned a hard lesson.

I agree that she should have realized something was amiss, but it’s not as if she shot a horse or something, and her father did the right thing by reporting it instead of leaving it to rot, which he could have easily done.

Then again, if she really couldn’t tell the difference between an elk and a deer, he should have been hunting right there with her.

As you can imagine, her father isn’t happy about the internet warriors ganging up on his little girl.

There’s no sense in it, people doing that. Don’t come at my daughter saying lock her away. Wow. If my daughter gets fined, I’ll pay it and move on. So be it. We’ll deal with it.


What do you think?

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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