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New York Man Goes Elk Hunting, Tags a Llama Instead

February 6, 2009.

A lot of you may have received the same email I did — the one that included photos of a gutted llama in the back of a pickup that was allegedly shot in Montana by an elk hunter from New York.

The photos included one of the hunter's elk license, which had been punched and attached to the llama's carcass.

I went on the website of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and verified that it was a real license that really belonged to a hunter named Rusty Saunders of Fort Edward, N.Y.

However, I was still skeptical that the photos really represented a hunter's mistake. In particular, the lead rope in the back of the pickup suggested that someone had led an unwanted llama out to slaughter it, then kept the carcass.

It turns out that this was not a hoax email, however.

The Billings Gazette and Montana FWP have confirmed that Mr. Saunders, a hunter from New York, came across a feral llama and mistook it for an elk. At some point, he realized his mistake and turned himself in.

Turns out that shooting a wild llama does not violate any statutes in Montana, so Mr. Saunders was not cited. I susupect he is not enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, however.

For what it's worth, I've heard that llama is good eating.

More from the Billings Gazette.

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