A Missouri teen hunter who says she accidentally shot an elk by mistake, is now the target of online bullying.
14-year-old Abby Wilson from Missouri was hunting in Boone County when she spotted giant antlers and pulled the trigger, thinking she had just nabbed a white-tailed buck, only to discover the animal was an elk — an innocent mistake that some social media users have bullied her about, her father said.
The teen’s dad, Don White, said he contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation after inspecting the animal’s body.
“She called her dad, who was hunting nearby, and her dad realized it was an elk,” Tom Strother, protection regional supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said. “The dad called our agent in Boone County, Adam Doerhoff, and said, ‘We think we just shot an elk.’”
“There is no elk season in Missouri, so free-ranging elk are protected,” Strother said. “It is a Wildlife Code violation to shoot a free-ranging elk as there are no provisions that outline a hunting season like there is for white-tailed deer.”
Abby’s story went viral, with hundreds of people posting comments about her mistaking an elk for a white-tailed deer. White said he was upset by some of the comments that he felt amounted to bullying his young daughter over her mistake.
White said the “crazy” incident has led to “hatred [toward] a child.”
“Everyone is a keyboard hero these days. 75 percent of people would’ve said nothing at all and left the elk. Or they would’ve took it home. And the conservation would never knew,” White said in a statement. “When I put my post up on Facebook yes I was a excited Dad. And also I wanted to make people aware that there is elk in northern Missouri.”
Some people even wrote, “Lock Her Up.” Others said the teen hunter should have known the difference between a bull elk and a buck deer.
Her father isn’t too happy with the online criticism. “I get it, you have people who think one way and think a different way, but to trash a 14-year-old what kind of person are you?” asked White.
Wilson said from now on, she will triple-check her target. She also says she is learning to just ignore the bullying. “I don’t take anything like that to heart because I know who I am and I know all those people who say those things have no idea,” said Wilson.
The elk Wilson killed is being genetically tested by the Department of Conservation to try and figure out where it came from. Once testing is finished and if the elk passes the Chronic Wasting Disease test, the Department of Conservation will donate the elk meat to needy families.