Road maps can be great to navigate by, but don't use them when hunting. An Oregon man discovered that the hard way when he was cited by Grand Teton National Park officials for taking an elk inside the park boundaries.
Rangers responded to two reports of possible illegal hunting in the park earlier this week on the first day of elk season on the adjoining Bridger-Teton National Forest. The first report notified rangers that a hunter on a guided trip killed an elk sometime between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. north of the Bailey Creek road, which lies within the park. Rangers, however, determined that the animal was killed legally on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and outside of the park's boundary.
Later that day, though, they cited Dane Clark, 49, of Pineville, Oregon, with a mandatory appearance for the taking of wildlife in the park. Rangers received a report at approximately 6 p.m. of the incident from a hunting guide service. They reported that a hunter was removing a dead elk from the Arizona Creek trail inside Grand Teton.
Investigating rangers encountered Mr. Clark while he was packing out the bull elk, but the man fully cooperated with rangers showing them where the elk was shot, a park release said. Rangers determined the elk was killed about one mile inside of the park boundary.
Investigating rangers discovered that the hunter was using a road map rather than a topographical map to identify the boundary line. They said Mr. Clark mistook one peak for another, incorrectly believing he was outside of the national park boundary and in a legal hunting area on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. They added that he had not visually located the boundary before hunting.
Rangers remind park users that hunting generally is prohibited in Grand Teton and only those who have been issued a permit to participate in the park's Elk Reduction Program can lawfully take wildlife in the national park. The Elk Reduction Program is a cooperative management tool used to regulate elk population numbers and was established by Congress in the 1950 enabling legislation that created Grand Teton National Park.
Rangers thank Good Samaritans for reporting alleged illegal activity in the park and often rely on such actions to assist in protecting visitors and park resources. Visitors and park users are reminded that rangers are consistently on patrol, monitoring activities to assure for the safety and well being of visitors and the park's cultural and natural resources. To report an incident, please call the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3300.