Photo: 19 elk perish in Oregon avalanche

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By Oregon Sportsmen Association,

Melting snow last month unveiled the carcasses of 19 elk likely killed by an avalanche a year ago on Broken Top mountain peak east of Bend, Oregon.

Hikers discovered the carcasses of the dead animals near the Broken Top and No Name Lake, according to The Bulletin in Bend.

Jamie Bowles of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife identified bulls, cows, and calves among the elk killed by the avalanche, according to an Aug. 17 article in The Idaho Statesman by Keven Davenport. The elk suffered torn hides and broken limbs and antlers.

Warm, dry weather has melted the snow, which had preserved the carcasses, preventing decomposition until recently. Oregon is experiencing a drought after a hot summer, according to the U.S. Drought Portal at drough.gov.

“They had been encased in snow for quite a while,” Bowels said.

Wildlife biologists believe the avalanche might have occurred in the winter of 2016-17 after heavy snowfall. The animals will be left where they were found, according to Bowles, as moving them would be dangerous and unnecessary.

ODFW biologists believe the elk triggered an avalanche while attempting to cross a steep slope near Broken Top Peak above No Name Lake, according to an Aug. 21 article in The Inertia Mountain. The slope gave way, twisting and contorting the animals’ bodies.