Editor’s note: This story originally appeared August 5, 2021, as a Facebook exclusive
Turns out that driving 30 miles an hour over the speed limit with blood on your jacket and in the bed of your pickup truck and a bogus explanation of how it got there when you’re pulled over by the inevitable state trooper will earn you north of $8,500 in restitution and court fines.
Justin Borchert, 19, of Bend and Tyra Stevens, learned that lesson after being convicted on May 25 by Lake County Judge David Vandenburg on one count each of poaching wildlife.
Their case began last October when Oregon State Police Trooper James Hayes spotted Borchert doing 95 mph in a 65 zone near La Pine and pulled him over. Per the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Hayes spotted blood on Borchert’s coat and in the back of the truck.
Asked how it got there, Borchert said that Stevens had killed a deer near Blue River, which is east of Eugene. Stevens, who was with him during the traffic stop, confirmed it, adding she’d used a Western Oregon tag, according to ODFW.
Only problem with the story: the Blue River area burned during September’s Holiday Farm fire and was closed afterwards.
Upon further questions, the pair admitted to taking not just one buck but two out of season, according to ODFW.
“Additional investigative work by the OSP Fish and Wildlife Division revealed the two had also poached a pronghorn and three Canada geese,” ODFW reported.
Borchert was ordered to pay the bulk of the restitution and fines, $7,500, but Stevens is also on the hook for $1,000.
Additionally, neither can hunt legally for three years, need to perform 40 hours of community service and stay out of trouble for a year.
“Poachers remove opportunities for true sportsmen and women who purchase licenses and tags, and follow the rules,” said a frustrated Bernadette Graham Hudson, ODFW Wildlife Division Administrator. “Hunters may wait years for the opportunity to legally take a mule deer or pronghorn.”