Editor’s note, 2:30 p.m., Thursday, July 14, 2022: For more details on the case, see this update from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A Harney County resident received jail time and a stiff and unusual sentence after pleading guilty to exceeding the bag limit on elk and unlawfully killing a bull during a closed season.
Chris Lardy was taken directly into custody at his sentencing last month as a circuit court judge added six days in lockup on top of his plea deal centered around a disgusting incident in Southeast Oregon last December involving shooting into an elk herd after first pursuing them in a vehicle.
Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division troopers say that Lardy was hunting in the Juniper Unit during an antlerless elk hunt featuring limited permits with his wife and another family member who had a mentored tag when they spotted some 100-plus elk and he then “chased the herd using his Suburban and damaged native habitat.”
When the Lardys got close enough to the animals in this sagebrush-stippled landscape, Chris Lardy and the family member shot “17-30+ rounds” at the elk, according to troopers.
They tagged two of the elk, “(but) no reasonable effort was made to locate and recover the five additional elk and they subsequently wasted, one of which was a small bull,” reported troopers in their May newsletter.
“Additional evidence showed there were also other wounded elk in the herd,” officers state.
A person who witnessed the vehicle-borne pursuit, the fusilade fired into the animals and the lack of any attempt to recover wounded wapiti alerted OSP.
Lardy and his wife were tracked down near Burns and agreed to go back to the site of the massacre, where they got a lecture from troopers on “the recklessness of shooting so many times into a large herd of elk and the unlawful method of hunting with the use of a motor vehicle.”
According to troopers, Chris Lardy was originally charged with five counts of wastage, four counts of exceeding the bag limit, one count of unlawful take of a bull, as well as single counts of hunting from a vehicle, harassing wildlife and damaging habitat, to which he pled not guilty.
But he later changed his mind and pled guilty to the single counts of exceeding the bag limit and closed-season take of the bull.
During his sentencing, Lardy got another earful from the circuit court judge, who “verbally reprimanded Lardy’s actions and added six days jail time in addition to the original plea terms,” troopers report. “The judge remanded him to immediate custody and ordered Fish and Wildlife Troopers to take him into custody in the court room and lodge him in jail.”
Along with a three-year license suspension, Lardy was ordered to pay a $2,000 restitution fine to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, perform 80 hours of community service, serve 18 months probation during which time he can’t take part in any hunting, and complete a Hunter Education course.
In a unique twist, he also must write a 500-word essay on hunter ethics to present during his hunter ed classes as well as have published in theBurns Time Herald Newspaper.
Lardy’s wife earlier pled guilty to aiding in a wildlife offense and her hunting privileges were suspended for three years. Three of the Lardys’ rifles were also seized last November.