Deadly Mystery

Were country club elk poisoned?

The mysterious deaths of elk have alarmed residents of Chaparral Pines.

Photo by Andy Towle. |

The mysterious deaths of elk have alarmed residents of Chaparral Pines.


Something fishy is going on in Chaparral Pines.

In roughly the last month, residents have discovered the bodies of half a dozen elk. No one knows how the elk died, but Arizona Game and Fish officials haven’t ruled out poisoning.

Game wardens note that while some people love the elk, others aren’t as fond.

David Daniels, with Game and Fish, said he is not sure what is going on, but believes residents could be to blame.

A number of residents reportedly feed the elk because they love to watch them in the area. But the food could inadvertently be killing them, Daniels said. Depending on what people are putting out, it could be too sweet.

On the other hand, someone angry with the influx of elk gobbling up rose bushes could be poisoning them or shooting them.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if someone put out a bucket of antifreeze,” Daniels said.

Unfortunately, the elk have been too badly decomposed to confirm what killed them.

If another elk turns up, Daniels said Game and Fish plans to call up a Valley veterinarian to perform a necropsy.

A vehicle hit at least one of the animals, a calf, said Jarrod McFarlin with Game and Fish.

Most of the elk were reportedly found out in the woods, but one turned up on the greens.

Daniels and McFarlin said Chaparral Pines has been good about calling each time an elk is found.

“Either someone is feeding them something bad accidentally or someone is tired of them being there,” Daniels said. “We don’t see that many coincidental deaths. There is definitely a reason why they are dying out there.”

Adding to the problem, it is unclear how many elk have died.

McFarlin said in the last month at least four have been found. Reportedly, three other elk turned up dead in July, according to one resident. However, Game and Fish officials have not confirmed that earlier reported rash of deaths.

“I truly don’t know what is going on,” McFarlin said.

Whatever is killing them, it is a good reminder to residents not to feed any wildlife.

“It is great to see wildlife here, especially at Chaparral Pines, but you can see them in their natural setting without putting food out,” he said. “As neat as it is to feed wildlife, in the long run, it is really only a disservice to them.”

Last year, elk posed a major problem in The Rim Club. A number of residents were reportedly putting feed out for them. Elk migrating through the area trampled to death a family dog as they rushed through one homeowner’s back yard.

The problem stopped in a week, though when residents agreed to stop feeding them, McFarlin said.


Barbara Rasmussen 4 years, 3 months ago

This is the most sickening story I have read. To think that someone could be poisoning these majestic beautiful animals because they chose to build their home in the animals back yard. If they indeed have been poisoned could the poison be carried down the food chain to other animals that would eat the dead animals carcasses? If it is true I hope that the officials catch the person(s) responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. What kind of disturbed person would even consider doing this?


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