Wisconsin hunter cited for illegally shooting elk across the street

A Wisconsin man has been cited for violating a state statute after he shot an elk across a roadway during the state’s inaugural elk hunt.

Joe Wiltzius, 73, of Franklin, was charged with illegally shooting the first bull elk of the season by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Journal Sentinel reports.

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The man was reportedly hunting with a guide and a friend on Oct. 15 when, around 3:30 pm, he fired across the street from 100 yards away.

According to the Sentinel, the men dragged the elk into the woods to gut it and phoned a DNR biologist to verify the kill and take samples.

Dave Zebro, DNR warden supervisor, told the Sentinel the men were interviewed and an investigation was opened into the hunt, which revealed Wiltzius had broken laws, including shooting across a roadway and hunting within 50 feet of the center line of a roadway. He may also face a $2,000 wild animal surcharge for the kill.

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The hide and antlers of the elk were seized by the DNR. The venison will be held until the case is decided, and then will likely be donated to a food pantry, the Sentinel reports.

The friend and guide have not been charged, but the guide may lose his license.

Wiltzius was one of five non-tribal hunters in the state to receive tags through the DNR lottery for the first-ever regulated elk season. Five other tags were reserved for members of Wisconsin’s Native American tribes.

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The state decided to open the hunt this year because the population of elk exceeded 200 — the state requirement for a limited bull hunt.

The DNR received around 38,000 applications and $13,000 in donations for the hunt, the Sentinel reports.

“Many partners and individuals contributed to this great conservation story in Wisconsin, which allowed us to hold this first hunt,” Schaller said to the Sentinel. “The state is dedicated to ensuring hunting laws are honored to make sure it is a fair and safe hunt, and this case is a reflection of that.”

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The state’s elk season will through Nov. 11., and then from Dec. 13 to Dec. 21.