UPDATED FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2022, WITH ODFW PRESS RELEASE AT BOTTOM
Oregon fish and wildlife troopers say they have charged a 21-year-old Coos Bay-area man with killing and wasting three young blacktail bucks early last year.
Following “a lengthy investigation” and a December 5 interview, troopers allege that Macen M. West, 21, of North Bend was behind the shootings of the deer on the bay’s North Spit and they have charged him with three counts of take of a game mammal during a closed season, three counts of wastage and a single count of hunting with an artificial light.
Word about the case first emerged in late March 2021 when on March 23 a person found the three deer dead along a sand road on the north side of Coos Bay.
Troopers reported that the animals had all been “shot in the head from relatively close range and were likely taken using artificial light at night,” between March 19 and 21.
Troopers say that they seized the rifle believed to have been used to shoot the blacktails.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE
A North Bend resident has been cited for poaching three black-tailed bucks near Coos Bay in 2021, according to law enforcement officials.
Macen M. West, 21, of North Bend, was cited on Dec. 5 for Hunting with the aid of artificial light, three counts of Take Game Mammal Closed Season and three counts of Waste of a Game Mammal for poaching three black-tailed bucks and leaving them to waste on North Spit, Coos Bay, on the weekend of March 19, 2021. OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers seized a rifle they believe he used in the crime, according to Sergeant Levi Harris.
Authorities are asking for restitution of $3,000; a three-year minimum suspension of West’s hunting rights and forfeiture of his Savage 93r 17 rifle.
“It was a crime of opportunity,” Sergeant Harris said, “We believe the shooter drove around a corner, saw the deer in the headlights and made a poor, shocking, impromptu decision to hop out and shoot those deer.”
The deer, likely transfixed by the light, would have been easy targets. He would have had time to aim and drop each deer individually. In a normal hunting situation, a single shot at one deer would have startled others into flight. Black-tailed deer hunting season was closed at the time.
All three deer were shot in the head, from relatively close range, according to Sergeant Harris. Because the deer were found so close together, investigators believed early on that the poacher had used a spotlight or vehicle headlights to blind the deer.
There were no footprints or tire tracks leading to the site according to Joseph Metzler of Coos Bay, who discovered the scene the morning of Monday, March 23. That morning, traveling on his ATV, Metzler noticed crows congregating in the area. As he rounded a bend in the road, he came upon the deer carcasses directly in front of him, on the hillside.
“As soon as I came around the corner, there they were, and if it had been dark, they would have been standing right in front of my headlights on the hillside,” he said.
Upon learning the case has been solved, Metzler was happy.
“I was pleased to be able to report it immediately,” Metzler said, “I’m very pleased that OSP was able to continue to pursue this and had success a year later. It goes to show you that if you turn in poachers, it might be a while, but they can find them.”
“We know what’s right and what’s wrong,” Metzler added, “And it’s too bad that his friends didn’t turn him in. They took this hunting resource from everyone in the local hunting community. Each one of those bucks this year would have filled a freezer and made people proud of how we manage deer in Oregon.”