Missouri girl, 14, thought she was shooting a deer when she pulled the trigger

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (WTHR) — Abby Wilson, 14, thought she had shot and killed a deer while hunting with her dad, but it wasn't a deer.

What she'd actually killed was an elk.

"She called her dad, who was hunting nearby, and her dad realized it was an elk," said Tom Strother, protection regional supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation told KSDK. "The dad called our agent in Boone County, Adam Doerhoff, and said, 'We think we just shot an elk.'"

Abby's dad sent Doerhoff a photo of the animal. Doerhoff confimed that it was an elk.

Missouri has no hunting season for elk. Although MDC is growing a herd in southeast Missouri after reintroducing elk to their native habitat at Peck Ranch Conservation Area in 2011. However, the conservation is nowhere near where Abby shot the elk.

The only other ranch that has elk in Missouri is near Columbia, which is 167 miles north of Springfield.

Strother said the circumstances of how the elk was shot are still being investigated, but so far there have been no enforcement actions against the young hunter.

"The big thing is to know your target and make sure you know it's a legal deer," he said. "You want to positively ID the animal you're going to shoot, but also know what's beyond your target — a tractor, a house or other hunters."