September 21, 2020

Escaped Idaho Elk Shot In Wyoming

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There is very little information in regards to this news only to report that at least one of Rex Rammell’s escaped domestic elk from his Chief Joseph Ranch in eastern Idaho found its way across the border and into Wyoming. Authorities their shot and killed the animal.

The elk escaped the ranch back in mid-August through a breech in the fence, supposedly dug by a bear. It was several days before officials knew of the escape when neighbors of the ranch called to report elk on their property.

When Idaho officials took over the task of trying to see that these elk didn’t mix with and mate with wild elk, Governor Risch of Idaho notified Governor Freudenthal of Wyoming of the occurance. Freudenthal immediately notified his people that they had orders to kill any tagged domestic elk found across Wyoming state lines. One crossed the line.

The time line has angered Freudenthal from the time of the escape, until the time officials in Idaho took action and when the Wyoming governor was notified.

“The lapse in time between when the escape occurred and was subsequently reported, the timing of the escape during the peak of the rutting season … and the relatively few escaped animals that have been accounted for in the ensuing six weeks since the escape occurred, do little to engender confidence that this wrong can be made right.”

Reports on how many elk actually escaped are varied. I don’t believe anyone knows officially how many elk they are looking for. Many reports have said as many as 200 elk escaped and at one point Rammell said all his elk were accounted for. I guess it’s safe to say that statement was inaccurate.

Idaho officials and private hunters have killed as many as 15 of the escaped elk and several that were wild in attempts to gun down the animals. The domestic elk are not properly tagged making it difficult to identify in the field.

What authorities fear is the spread of disease and mixing of gene pools should the domestic elk breed with wild elk. The spread of disease is always a real possibility but the dumbing down of the gene pool as described is mostly only theory and there are as many opinions on it as there are strains of elk.

Both the state of Idaho and the owner of the ranch can be blamed for this problem. Most ranchers will tell you that no matter how good a rancher you are there will be escapes. Good and enforced guidelines will keep any perceived threat, such as disease or interbreeding, to a minimum. Neither of these were done.

Rammell ran a lousy business keeping poor records and improperly tagging his animals. The state did a lousy job of taking a tough stance and forcing Rammell to comply with rules governing the agricultural endeavor. At one point Rammell successfully lobbied the state to forgive him several thousand dollars in fines for rules of ranching that he broke. The Wyoming Governor has some ground to stand on in being angry with Idaho officials.

*All posts on the topic*:

Rex Rammell Arrested
Governor Jim Risch Defends His Decision To Shoot Escaped Elk
Idaho Gubernatorial Candidates Have A Say About Elk Farming
Rammell For Governor, Ranch Sold, Elk Still Being Hunted
Wyoming Governor Freudenthal Says Interior Department Not Doing Enough About Escaped ElkIdaho’s Escaped Elk Now Getting National Attention
Idaho Elk Farmer Says All His Elk Accounted For
Idaho Governor Expands Hunt For Escaped Elk
More Elk Killed In Idaho – Some By Hunters
Idaho Elk Farmer Plans To Sue The State
Scientists Will Test Killed Idaho Elk For Disease And Genetic Make-up
A Helicopter, A Plane And 25 Agents Can’t Find 160 Domestic Elk
Escaped Idaho Elk Being Slaughtered. Wyoming Ordered To Kill Elk Also
Domestic Elk Crash The Gate – Escape!

Tom Remington

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