Rewards Available for Helping ID Suspects in Poaching Cases

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A bull elk seen in Columbia County on Nov. 28. It was found dead with its antlers removed the following day. (Photo courtesy of ODFW)

Poachers have killed a bighorn sheep, two black bear cubs, seven elk, and two black-tailed buck deer in separate incidents across Oregon over the past month, according to OSP Fish and Wildlife Division.

Wildlife officials rely on the public to report suspicious activity. Reporting parties may remain anonymous, and rewards are in place for information that leads to an arrest or citation in any of these cases.

Here’s a look at some recent cases:

Bighorn sheep ram in Baker County: On Nov. 30, OSP F and W Troopers discovered a bighorn sheep ram that had been shot and left to waste on BLM land. The carcass was near Hibbard Creek Road in the Lookout Mountain Wildlife Management Unit, approximately 50 miles south of Baker City. The poacher or poachers took only the ram’s head and horns, leaving all the meat to waste.

Oregon Hunters Association is offering a $2,000 reward and Oregon Department of Fish &  Wildlife is offering five hunter preference points for information that leads to an arrest or citation for this case. Oregon Wildlife Coalition also offers a $500 reward for the bighorn sheep.

California bighorn sheep are the most abundant subspecies in Oregon with an estimated 3,700 animals that make up 32 herds in central and southeast Oregon. Oregon’s estimated 800 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep live in the northeast corner of the state, in canyons of the Snake River and its tributaries and in alpine areas of the Wallowa Mountains.

Biologists and other conservationists carefully monitor and maintain bighorn sheep throughout Oregon and the west as a valuable natural resource. The nimble animals are a draw for recreationists around the state, and hikers and photographers go to great lengths to get a glimpse of them in the wild. Hunters compete to win a once-in-a-lifetime hunt for the animals. Oregon Hunter Magazine editor Duane Dungannon has chased the coveted tag for years.

“I’ve personally viewed and photographed bighorns in the Lookout Mountain Unit, but that’s all, because in 35 years of applying, I’ve never drawn a once-in-a-lifetime bighorn tag, and probably never will,” Dungannon said, “For someone to steal one of these mountain monarchs is truly a heinous crime against all those who dream of a chance to pursue them legally someday, as well as those who just count themselves fortunate to see them.”

Poaching impacts the number of bighorns across the landscape and complicates biologist’s herd management strategies, according to Protect Oregon’s Wildlife- Turn In Poachers campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw.

“Poaching steals natural resources from all Oregonians,” She said, “We can all help protect Oregon’s wildlife by being a good witness and turning in poachers.”

To be a good witness, Shaw encourages people to pay attention to the species of animal involved, the location, any vehicle descriptions, and descriptions of the poachers themselves. “A license plate or photo are very helpful,” Shaw said.

Conservation groups like Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon Wild and the Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation actively inform their members about the detriments of poaching.

“Poaching continues to be a tragic assault on Oregon values and our natural heritage,” said Danielle Moser, Wildlife Program manager with Oregon Wild, “Each death is a blow to the resilience and integrity of our wild landscapes.”

Two black bear cubs, in Baker County: On Nov. 27, a hunter reported finding a dead bear cub just off the USFS 77 Road in the Keating Wildlife Management Unit. OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers responded to the area and located two bear cubs that were shot and left to waste. This location is approximately 3.5 miles northwest of Halfway.

Oregon Hunters Association is offering a $600 reward and ODFW is offering four hunter preference points for information that leads to an arrest or citation in this case. Oregon Wildlife Coalition also offers a $500 reward for information regarding leading to an arrest or citation.

Two spike bull elk in Lincoln County: On Nov. 20, an OSP Fish and Wildlife Sergeant responded to a report of two spike bull elk that had been shot and killed near milepost 10 on Murphy Road. The Sergeant located the first carcass in a clear-cut area at the edge of the timberline. The second carcass was approximately 50 yards away, just inside the timberline.

Oregon Hunters Association is offering a $1,000 reward and ODFW is offering four hunter preference points for information that leads to an arrest or citation in this case.

Rocky Mountain bull elk in Umatilla County: On Oct. 4, OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers responded to a call of a Rocky Mountain bull elk that had been shot and left to waste on Hwy. 74, approximately four miles west of Hwy. 395. The investigation determined the bull was killed approximately 100 yards from the highway with a single gunshot wound to the head, then left to waste. Oregon Hunters Association is offering a $1,000 reward and ODFW is offering four hunter preference points for information that leads to an arrest or citation in this case.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Reference case number SP23376327.

Two Rocky Mountain elk in Morrow County:  On Nov. 27, OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers responded to a call of two elk that had been killed and left partially to waste in a dry creek bed near Lexington. Due to the recent cold weather, it is believed the elk may have been killed in the past week. Oregon Hunters Association is offering $1,000reward and ODFW is offering four hunter preference points for information that leads to an arrest or citation in this case.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Reference case number SP23376327.

 

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