(Carter County) The Missouri Department of Conservation is investigating an elk that was killed Sunday or Monday in Carter County.

Gerald Smith works for the conservation department at the Ozark Regional office in West Plains.

He tells where they found the dead elk.

We asked Smith about this becoming a common occurrence as at least one elk has been killed by poachers during the past several years.

Smith hopes someone from the public can provide information that would lead to an arrest.

If an arrest is made, the offender could be fined much more than in years past.

A new law went into effect in July where a fine for killing an elk in Missouri could reach 10 to 15-thousand dollars.

However, the fine is up to the presiding judge in the case.

In 2011, Missouri began reintroducing elk onto Peck Ranch Conservation Area in Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties, starting with 108 elk.

The herd is now up to around 200.

If you have any information about this elk poaching incident, call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 or you can call the M.D.C’s office in West Plains at 417-256-7161.