Legal Hunters Serve as Extra Eyes, Uncover More Poaching Cases

A cow elk found near Testament Creek Road off Bald Mt. Road in Tillamook County. (Photo courtesy of ODFW)

A black-tailed doe and cow elk, both shot multiple times and left to waste, are the latest targets of poachers in the Tillamook area.

The Oregon State Police (OSP) would like to talk to the drivers of three trucks seen in the vicinity of the dead elk on Nov. 13.

A reward of $500 or four hunter preference points is available to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest or citation.


Both crime scenes were discovered on Nov. 15 and responding troopers found animals with multiple gunshot wounds. Poachers shot and left the animals to waste in different areas of the county. It is uncertain if the two incidents are related, according to Lt. Doug Shugart of the OSP Fish and Wildlife Division.

Hunters reported hearing about 14 shots fired in the early morning hours of opening day of Coast elk first season, which runs Nov. 13-16. The hunters later found a dead cow elk in a wooded area near Testament Creek Road off Bald Mountain Road in Tillamook County. They reported their find to OSP, via the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line.

Members of the public reported three vehicles that were traveling together in the area around the time hunters heard the shots fired. OSP Troopers would like to talk to the drivers of a silver, lifted, approximately 2005 Dodge Ram; a blue, approximately 2010 Dodge Ram; and an older model maroon Ford F150. Please reference case # SP21321584.

Elk hunters discovered the black-tailed doe in the Ginger Creek recreation area near a common OHV staging area. The deer was shot multiple times then dumped near Ginger Creek Rd, at the end of a spur road on BLM land. The poacher removed some backstrap meat and left the rest to waste. Based on carcass decomposition, OSP Troopers estimate the deer was shot between Nov. 8-13. Please reference case # SP21321451.

The latest cases mark a trend of poaching discovered during Oregon deer and elk hunting seasons. Lt. Shugart is quick to point out that one reason for a perceived increase is the additional activity in remote areas.

“We have extra eyes and ears out there,” he said, “We know that one reason we’re getting more calls is because of hunters who are finding carcasses and calling them in. We’ve made several cases and seized a few animals already this year.”

Poachers don’t follow the rules. That gives them an advantage, and takes away opportunities for legal hunters, according to Lt. Shugart. He emphasizes the importance of following regulations and fair chase ethics.

“It can be tough to find elk when you do it the right way,” Shugart said, “An elk is a substantial animal. It fills a freezer. When someone takes it the wrong way, or wastes it, that takes away opportunity and it keeps someone else from filling their freezer.”

Legal, ethical hunters have reason to turn in poachers, according to Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw.

“Poachers steal opportunities from all Oregonians,” she said. “These natural resources belong to all of us, and hunters and anglers often do the heavy lifting when it comes to turning in law-breakers.”

The Oregon Hunters Association (OHA), which manages the TIP Reward program, is offering a cash reward of $500 for information in either case that leads to an arrest or citation. Or the reporting party may opt for four hunter preference points from ODFW.

The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, landowners and recreationists. Our goal is to increase reporting of wildlife crimes through the TIP Line, increase detection by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and increase prosecution. This campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information at

If you know of or suspect other crimes against fish wildlife or habitat, please report to the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line. 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (*677) from a mobile phone. Or email: (email monitored only during regular business hours Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).