Editor’s Note: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shared a gruesome photo of one of the elk. Viewer discretion is advised.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says a 66-year-old man who shot a herd of elk in Tillamook County blamed the shooting on “elk fever” when turning himself in to the police.

ODFW reported the shooting on Thursday afternoon, but it initially took place in January of this year. According to the department, the perpetrator killed one elk and severely injured at least three others while illegally shooting at the herd from the road.

Oregon wildlife officials say the man had his gun pointed toward Highway 101.

On the day of the shooting, OSP Fish & Wildlife Troopers responded to a call from the Turn in Poachers line. Troopers found the three wounded elk, but later reported that one cow elk was put down due to its injuries, and the fourth elk had already been tagged by the perpetrator.

The next day, wildlife officials say that one of the remaining elk likely drowned after running into the Nehalem River. According to the troopers, they had to put down a mortally wounded bull elk as well.

ODFW reported that the subject got permission to hunt from the person who owned the property, who told officials that they saw the 66-year-old man field-dress the dead elk’s carcass before leaving the area.

“The guy came out and stopped at the road, and started shooting,” the landowner, who asked to remain anonymous, said to ODFW. “I told another hunter, who said the guy shouldn’t have left.  He should have called state police and turned himself in.”

The landowner soon called the perpetrator, asking him to return to the property and self-report the poaching to Oregon State Police. Wildlife officials say the man showed remorse and accredited the shooting to ‘elk fever’ when turning himself in.

OSP Fish & Wildlife Troopers took the subject’s .308 profile for evidence and criminally cited him for: Hunting Prohibited Method: Shooting from Roadway; Unlawful Take/Possession of Antlerless Elk; and Unlawful Take/Possession of Bull Elk. 

One of the elk shot by a 66-year-old man in Tillamook County (ODFW)

Two of the elk were donated to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, and one to the Tillamook County Jail.