Speak up: elk poachers stealing from all of us

We’re not in high school anymore.

It’s time to break whatever code of silence witnesses are labouring under and come forward to report what you know about the elk poaching that has Conservation officials so worried.

Some seem to believe that poaching a half-dozen elk isn’t that big of a deal.

There’s always more out there, right? Wrong. The whole reason people aren’t just allowed to go out and fire at will is because the Roosevelt elk population needs to be carefully maintained.

As Denis Martel of Wilderness Watch stated in a story the Citizen ran on the elk poaching problem several weeks ago, taking female elk is particularly problematic, as it severs the cord to future generations.

At least one of the poached elk was pregnant when it was killed and butchered.

The major point is that the poaching is taking place with the full knowledge of many people.

It’s not the work of a single hunter, but rather is the work of a group, who are travelling to their hunting spots in multiple vehicles.

It is likely that the family members of those involved in the kills know full well what is going on.

So, quite possibly, do their neighbours and friends.

Since the edible portions of meat on the animals were almost all removed, one can assume some folks have a freezer full, and are chowing down on barbecued elk meat on a regular basis. Hunting for food is not a bad thing.

Most of us eat meat. That meat has to come from somewhere. Most of us simply buy it in the grocery store, but there’s nothing wrong with, legally, getting a licence and going out to harvest for yourself.

The meat hunters bring back is nutritious, antibiotic-and cruelty-free.

But if folks figure they can just go out and kill whatever they want, they are destroying the rule-following hunters’ ability to hunt.

There will never be a legal hunt for Roosevelt elk in the Cowichan Valley if poachers ruin it for everyone by endangering the population of the animals.

The Roosevelt elk herd belongs to all of us. When poachers head out and kill them, they are stealing from all of us.

They’re stealing legal hunters’ chances for a limited entry hunt, and they’re stealing the chances of the rest of us to simply see and marvel at these magnificent creatures.

This kind of poaching is a further hazard because it endangers any people who may be out and about in the area.

Poachers don’t deserve the protection of the silence of all of those who can stop them.

It’s time to step up and report what you know.