Knoxville/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 10, 2024
Jacksboro Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Elk Killings, Receives Hunting Ban and FinesSource: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

A Jacksboro man has pleaded guilty to the illegal killing of two elk in Tennessee’s largest wildlife management area, as reported by WATE. Preston William Douglas, 34, faced the Campbell County General Sessions Court on April 4, admitting to two counts of illegally taking big game, resulting in his hunting license being revoked for five years, a ban from North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area for the same duration, along with three years of supervised probation. The conviction also meant the surrendering of two firearms and the imposition of $10,000 in restitution plus additional fines and court costs.

In a chain of events initiated by a tip from another hunter who heard multiple shots in the area while deer hunting, Wildlife Manager Darrell England and officials investigated Douglas, who originally claimed to have hunted a doe and a six-point buck, which exceeded the legal one deer limit per person. This led to the discovery of two slain elk, a bull, and a cow with bullet injuries, WATE sources detailed; a revelation that underscored a breach of regulations and cast a harsh light on the illegal act. The involvement of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency brought to light the presence of shell casings from a .40 caliber handgun and a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle at the scene and, upon confronting Douglas a second time, a confession about the unlawful harvest and abandonment of both animals was secured.

The poaching case highlights a broader issue of wildlife management and conservation, as the elk population had been painstakingly reintroduced in Tennessee starting in 2000, with the TWRA solving 8 out of 14 poaching cases since then, as WBIR reports. Elk hunts in the state are managed via an annual quota hunt system, indicating Douglas’s actions not only flaunted specific local hunting restrictions but also jeopardized conservation efforts aimed at sustaining the local elk population.

-Community members with any knowledge of poaching activities are advised to call the poaching hotline at 1-800-831-1174 to support ongoing conservation efforts.