Poachers are busy day and night in Oregon. Three cases around Halloween have Oregon State Police troopers asking the public for information on these incidents, while Oregon hunters raise reward amounts to $3,500 for those who do.
Troopers discovered all three poaching scenes after alert members of the community reported hearing shots fired or finding a carcass. The Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) is offering $500 for reports that lead to an arrest or citation in the deer case, and $1,500 for each of the elk cases. Or reporters can opt for four Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) hunter preference points instead of cash.
On Oct. 30, a member of the public called 911 to report someone was shooting at a deer from Interstate 5, in Douglas County, near the crest of Roberts Mountain. The incident happened on the east side of the freeway, at about 5:00 p.m. The man then pulled over, retrieved the deer, put it in his truck, and left the scene traveling northbound on I-5 about 15 minutes later. Troopers were able to retrieve a photo of his pickup and would like to hear from anyone who might know the driver. It is a newer model burgundy or maroon GMC Sierra (or similar model) 4-door truck with black rims and a black step bar. The truck left the area northbound on I-5 at about 5:15 p.m. The reward for information that leads to an arrest or citation stands at $500 from OHA or four ODFW hunter preference points.
On Oct. 28, around 2:30 a.m. neighbors in the Fernhill Road area in Columbia County heard shots fired. They reported the incident to OSP. The following morning troopers located a bull elk that had been shot on private property and left to waste in a field near Fernhill Road and Cook Road. The carcass was located about fifty yards from Fernhill Road. The reward for information that leads to an arrest or citation stands at $1,500 from the OHA Columbia and Tualatin Valley chapters or four ODFW hunter preference points.
On Oct. 23, OSP responded to the report of a bull elk shot near Mist. Troopers located what was left of a bull elk carcass, near Lane Creek Mainline off the Columbia River Mainline. They estimate the elk had been poached between Oct. 22 and the morning of Oct 23. The incident occurred near milepost 21 on a Weyerhaeuser drive-in permit area in Columbia County. Four quarters of meat were taken but the rest was left to waste. The reward for information that leads to an arrest or citation stands at $1,500 from the OHA Columbia and Tualatin Valley chapters or four ODFW hunter preference points.
In 2020, OHA distributed more than $20,000 in rewards from the Turn In Poachers (TIP) fund. ODFW gave out 135 hunter preference points for those who preferred hunting opportunity over financial reward. Cash rewards and hunter preference points can offer that nudge to action for people who might not otherwise report, according to Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw.
“We rely on members of the public to call the TIP Line if they see or suspect illegal activities,” she said, “We have a better chance of catching poachers when law enforcement and the general public work as a team. We thank the members of the public who called OSP when they heard shooting and urge anyone with more information to step forward and provide information on these cases.”
There are 128 Fish and Wildlife troopers across the state; not nearly enough to patrol more than 90,000 square miles of Oregon land, as well as inland and marine waterways. OHA Vice President Steve Hagan is enthusiastic about the move to increase reward amounts.
“We want to catch these guys,” he said. “Columbia County and Tualatin Valley chapters are contributing $1,000 each for these two elk to try to catch whoever did this.”
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 TIP@osp.oregon.gov between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.