The 14-year-old girl, Abby, who mistakenly shot a protected animal has been getting bullied by users online, her dad said. The teen’s dad, Don, said he contacted the MDC after inspecting the animal’s body. Users online debated whether the girl should be punished for the animal’s death. “To see one here is out of the ordinary. The dad certainly did the right thing by immediately calling us.” said the conservation department’s spokesman, Hemmelgarn.
Don said that his 14-year-old daughter reportedly shot an elk that she mistook for a deer during a hunting trip with her father. The father and daughter were hunting legally during the deer season, but elk are protected in the area. “We think we just shot an elk,” he told them. It’s unusual that the elk was in their area, around 200 miles from where a wild elk herd has been reintroduced. Even conservation agent Doerhoff was doubtful about the elk until Don sent him picture proof. “The dad sent me a photo to my phone and it was very clear that, yes, that’s an elk,” said Doerhoff. “You don’t expect to see something like that. I’ve learned to never say never.”
Since their story (SEE PHOTO) circulated around the internet, Don said that his daughter has faced criticism from groups online. A Facebook group called “STOP Trophy Hunting NOW” posted about the story, saying, “Idiots and their offspring with guns in the woods, don’t even know what they are shooting at.” “Don’t come at my daughter saying lock her away,” argued Don. “Wow. If my daughter gets fined, I’ll pay it and move on. So be it. We’ll deal with it.” Don added that he hoped conservation officials would allow him and his daughter to keep the animal’s meat and antlers. “I’d make sure everybody around my family would have some of that,” Don said. Strother said that staff told Don that no parts of the elk will be returned to him or the family. The meat may be donated to needy families if it is found to be free of disease.
Users online debated whether the girl should be punished for the elk’s death. “The elk is a protected species. As there is no elk season, shooting it is illegal. Age or ignorance is not a defense for breaking the law. She made a mistake, there are consequences,” argued one user. “The fact the dad asked to get the trophies from this animal is just really in poor taste. Your daughter illegally shot a protected elk, no you do not get the trophies from an illegal action. She shouldn’t go to jail but if there is a fine it is definitely justified.”