Farmers bump up harvest of problem elk north of Seattle

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Officials say landowners in northwest Washington are harvesting elk at a faster pace than last year to reduce damage to farmland. State Fish and Wildlife officials say since July 1, landowners or their hand-picked hunters have shot 22 elk, compared to 15 at this time last year. The Capital Press reports the uptick comes after Fish and Wildlife said it was OK for farmers to charge hunters a fee for coming onto their land to fill a kill permit. Skagit County farmers in have complained for years about elk-damaged fences, pastures and crops. The county assessor has estimated that elk do roughly $1.4 million worth of damage annually.