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People were left shocked and demanded charges after they Iearned what 14-year-oId girI hunted!

The principles of ethical hunting emphasize knowing and respecting the game, adhering to laws, and behaving in a manner that aligns with societal expectations. Ethical hunters are well-versed in the areas they hunt, the wildlife present, and proper conduct in the field. However, a recent incident involving a 14-year-old girl named Abi has sparked a heated debate on social media. During a hunting trip with her father, Dan, Abi mistakenly shot an elk, believing it to be a deer. The state’s deer season was in effect where they were hunting, but elk are protected in that region. Upon realizing the mistake, Dan promptly contacted the Department of Conservation. “We think we just shot an elk,” he reported. Given the rarity of elk in their county, conservation officer Doerhoff was initially skeptical. However, a photo sent by Dan confirmed the animal was indeed an elk. “You don’t expect to see something like that. I’ve learned to never say never,” Doerhoff remarked.

Strother, the department’s regional supervisor, explained the situation: “She saw antlers, she saw the body. She thought it was a deer and took the shot. This young girl probably had never seen an elk in the wild before (SEE PHOTO). The dad certainly did the right thing by immediately calling us.” The incident quickly went viral, leading to Abi facing significant online abuse. A Facebook group, “STOP Trophy Hunting NOW,” criticized the incident harshly, posting, “Idiots and their offspring with guns in the woods, don’t even know what they are shooting at.” Dan defended his daughter, stating, “Don’t come at my daughter saying lock her away. If my daughter gets fined, I’ll pay it and move on. So be it. We’ll deal with it.”

Dan also expressed a desire for his family to consume the elk’s meat and antlers, but Strother confirmed that none of the elk’s parts would be returned to the family. If the meat is deemed safe, it may be donated to low-income families. Public opinion is divided on whether Abi should be penalized. One commenter noted, “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.” Another user added, “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.”

Others were more sympathetic, emphasizing the learning aspect and Dan’s prompt reporting. “She’s 14. She’s learning still. Her dad did the right thing in calling immediately,” said one supporter. “The elk had no tag and they even said they didn’t have any reports of elk in the area so it was odd to even see one out there.” The situation underscores the importance of ethical hunting practices and the complexities that arise when mistakes are made in the field.