[Following is an Oct. 20 TWRA press release with slight editing]
LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. --- A hunter who was successfully drawn to participate in this year’s elk hunt [Oct. 17-21] on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area has been charged with several violations related to illegally killing a bull elk.
Timothy C. Copeland, 56 of Crossville, was one of the few privileged hunters drawn to participate in Tennessee’s eighth annual elk hunt. He is the first-ever permitted hunter to be charged with violations in relation to the elk hunt.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials report that on Tuesday evening [Oct. 18] around 6:30 p.m., Copeland spotted a bull elk while driving a truck in the Adkins Mountain area of the North Cumberland WMA in Campbell County. He allegedly exited the truck and shot the elk from the roadway. Copeland was drawn to hunt in Elk Zone 5, but harvested the animal in Elk Zone 2. The permit requires a hunter to stay within his/her drawn zone.
Copeland and two companions brought the elk to the North Cumberland WMA headquarters for analysis by TWRA staff. Biologists became concerned when Copeland could not produce accurate GPS coordinates for the location of the kill. Wednesday morning, TWRA wildlife officers were contacted and an investigation ensued. By then, the 5x6 bull weighing 580 pounds had been transported to a meat processor in Crossville.
The elk carcass and a Browning 30-06 rifle have been seized and Copeland has been charged with four violations. The charges include shooting from a public road, hunting from a motor vehicle, hunting in a closed area, and possession of illegally killed big game. Copeland is scheduled to appear in Campbell County General Sessions Court on Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. The two accompanying persons were not charged.