JASPER – Three Springdale residents have been arrested for poaching two bull elk in north-central Arkansas. The dead elk were found earlier this year on a county road near the Newton/Madison county line.
Arrested in the case were Rebecca Burkett, 27, her husband, Clifford Lee Burkett, 52, and Joyce Stout, 57.
Rebecca Burkett was charged with fleeing a wildlife officer, taking of elk prohibited, criminal trespass, hunting wildlife in closed season, aiding and abetting, hunting from the road and big game checking requirements. Clifford Lee Burkett was charged with hunting out of season, criminal trespass, and aiding, accompanying and abetting. Joyce Stout was charged with hunting from the road, fleeing an officer, criminal trespass, hunting wildlife in a closed season, taking of elk prohibited, big game checking requirements, criminal trespass, and aiding accompanying and abetting. Possible fines for Rebecca Burkett total $12,870, potential fines for Clifford Burkett total $5,000 and Joyce Stout faces fines of $6,420.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers responded to calls from local landowners Jan. 29 after the landowners noticed two dead elk on private property. Both elk had been shot. One elk had tenderloins removed and there was evidence that the head was in the process of being removed.
Several pieces of evidence were recovered at the scene that helped lead to the arrests. AGFC biologists also responded to collect chronic wasting disease samples and DNA evidence from each animal. Both elk were found to be CWD-negative. After evidence was collected, both animals were processed in the field and the meat was salvaged and donated.
During the investigation, a third poached bull elk was found in a storage building in Springdale.