ST. LOUIS (KMOV/CNN) – A teenage hunter in Missouri faced a barrage of online bullying after she says she mistakenly shot an elk over the weekend.
She and her father were hunting deer in Boone County, MO, and the teen said she thought the animal was a buck deer.
Missouri has no elk hunting season, so when her dad identified the animal as an elk, he immediately called authorities.
Donald White said he got a text from his daughter Abby just after he heard a gunshot.
“I get a text after I hear the gunshot from only 150-to-200 yards away,” Dad said.
“I said, ‘get your butt down here,’” Abby said.
Donald White rushed from his nearby stand and Abby was excited, thinking she had nabbed her first big buck.
“It looked like a deer because it was brown, had four legs and had antlers. So the only thing I could think it could be in Missouri is a deer,” Abby said.
Officials from the Missouri Department of Conservation admitted they are stumped.
Wild elk have not been reported in the area so the father-daughter hunting buddies never thought they’d be publishing a photo posing over the dead animal.
Then it blew up when it was posted on Facebook. Thousands of reactions – some pretty mean – targeted the teen.
One critical post that was not so mean said “anyone knowledgeable” should be able to tell the difference between a deer and an elk.
“I get it,” said Don White. “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?”
Abby’s takeaway: triple-check her target. And a life lesson from social media.
“I don’t take anything like that to heart,” she said of the harsh criticism. “Because I know who I am and I know half those people – well, all those people who say those things have no idea who I am.”
Authorities issued a warning. They confiscated the elk carcass and will have it genetically tested to try to find out where it came from.