Tennessee Couple Allows Hunters To Kill Fugitive Elk Herd Wandering Their Land

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- State officials said hunters killed a herd of wandering elk after the owners gave permission to put down the animals.

Wild elk have been reintroduced into the state since 2000, but the state Department of Agriculture determined that this herd, about 11 in all, were domesticated and escaped from a private owner.

The state had hoped to trap and return the herd, which was spotted roaming in the community of Alto at the foot of Sewanee Mountain in Franklin County.

Officials contacted the owners, Paul Gass and Mike Cardin, both of Marion County, to determine what could be done when they were seen about three weeks ago

The owners said if they couldn't be captured, then the elk could be killed. Several have been shot already and a state veterinarian gathered brain tissue from some of the elk for disease testing.

Since their introduction back to Tennessee, hunters have been eager to get approval to hunt wild elk.

However, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission voted this month to delay the inaugural hunt until 2009.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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