A Northeast Oregon man must serve two months in jail, has lost his hunting license for eight years and will have to pay $17,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to poaching two bull elk at night from a road and with the aid of a light in mid-November 2016, wasting both animals completely.
Nathan Crouch, 27, who was on the lam in Nevada until last month, was recently sentenced by Union County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Powers for the four wildlife misdemeanors, according to local news outlets.
The case outraged Elgin-area residents, who provided Oregon State Police fish and wildlife troopers with “overwhelming support” in identifying Crouch as well as Dylan Crouch, then 22, and Briana Black, then 18, as suspects.
According to a report today on My Columbia Basin, Nathan Crouch admitted to shooting both elk, six- and five-point bulls.
The La Grande Observer reports that as Dylan Crouch held a spotlight on the bulls, Nathan Crouch shot them.
Black was in the vehicle.
All three are from Elgin.
Last winter Black and Nathan Crouch pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor wildlife violation and were sentenced to five days in jail, three months of probation and a loss of hunting privileges until mid-2020, the Observer‘s Cherise Kaechele reported.
Under Oregon law, poachers who kill a bull elk with six or more points on a side are on the hook for a $15,000 penalty payable to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The defendants in this case just left these animals to rot,” My Columbia Basin reports Union County Senior Deputy District Attorney Christopher L. Storz said. “They took nothing and, by the time they were found, no meat was salvageable. Cases like this one emphasize the need for felonies in the Oregon Game Code, something that currently just isn’t provided for under Oregon law.”