Officials: Elk Hunters Exhibited 'Unethical' Behavior

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Citations are being handed out in the shadow of what Montana officials are calling some stunning behavior by "unethical" hunters.

The Independent Record in Helena, Mont., is reporting that the incident occurred on public land this past week, on the second day of the state's general big game season. According to the paper, hunters quickly began communicating with one another when a large herd of elk was discovered near the White Gulch area near Canyon Reservoir. In short order, scores of hunters appeared on the scene, some of them using their trucks to herd the animals into open space so that other hunters could take clear shots of the elk. By the end of the day, 30 elk from the herd lay dead and an unknown number were injured.

“Unfortunately a situation like that brings out the worst in unethical hunter behavior,” Warden Sgt. Dave Loewen told the Independent Record. “If I could emphasize one thing, it’s that type of activity drains local game wardens babysitting elk and unethical hunters. I wouldn’t even consider it hunting.”

Law enforcement said more hunters arrived on the scene throughout the day "to join the fray," according to the Independent Record, and a number of them used their vehicles to control the herd. But Montana Code prohibits, "Use of a self-propelled vehicle to intentionally concentrate, drive, rally, stir up, or harass wildlife, except predators of this state."

The Independent Record reports some hunters have been cited in connection with the incident, but law enforcement said they couldn't catch up with all of the violators..

“We issued a whole lot of verbal warnings,” Warden Justin Feddes told the Independent Record. “It’s a drain with three of us up there all day long, tying us all down.”