Poaching Cases Keep On Coming In Oregon

A few nights ago I was talking to my folks when Dad asked about all the poaching cases that have been popping up on this blog.

Is there that much unlawful killing of wildlife really going on this fall? he wondered.


It sure does seem like it from the 35,000-foot level.

Besides the cases I’ve posted to help get the word out, including the “frenzy” of poaching in Lane County, there are also a bunch of requests for public assistance that I’ve received from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division and Idaho Fish and Game that I haven’t been able to get to.

Then there are the myriad cases from September that made OSP’s latest newsletter, one of which is our December issue’s Jackass of the Month.

I ended up giving Dad a nuanced – read: very long-winded – response.

Between what I have and haven’t posted it feels like there are more cases this fall but I haven’t compared that to last year’s volume, while with backing from the Oregon Hunters Association and others Oregon legislators funded a statewide anti-poaching campaign that ODFW and OSP are working hard to highlight, but there also just many more folks outdoors given the pandemic and unemployment and not all know the regs, while with a couple moose killed in Idaho it was a case of mistaken identity, and I’m not seeing anywhere near the same level of reported activity in our home state of Washington which seems odd but that might also just be a function of different priorities/resources for game wardens though I’d sure like to know the backstory with WDFW Police’s Facebook cover photo of the three bucks in the bed of the officer’s rig.

The world is pretty damn complex and so it is with the answer.

This morning the drumbeat continued as word of yet another poaching incident under investigation rolled into my inbox.

On Nov. 14, opening day of Oregon’s first coast bull elk season, somebody killed one in northwestern Yamhill County’s McMinnville Watershed, where hunting isn’t allowed.

In fact, all public access to the 6,300-acre property in the Nestucca River and Haskins Creek headwaters is prohibited.

Despite that, the shooter or shooters likely “knew the property was closed” based on evidence gathered at the scene, according to OSP.

What’s more, they left some meat to rot, failing to take all of the backstrap and neck meat, as required under Oregon Revised Statute 498.042 and Oregon Administrative Rule 635-045-0002.

The former states that “No person shall waste any edible portion of any game mammal, game bird or game fish or the pelt of any fur-bearing mammal.”

The latter defines edible portions of a game mammal as “the meat of the front quarters as far down as the knees (the distal joint of the radius-ulna), meat of the hindquarters as far down as the hocks (the distal joint of the tibia-fibula), and the meat along the backbone including the loins (back-strap), and tenderloins. For elk, it also includes the meat of the neck.”

Whomever shot this bull also left all of the rib meat to waste, per OSP.

I get it that someone who probably knew they were in a spot they weren’t supposed to be would be hacking and packing pretty fast and likely end up leaving meat behind – I’m not saying that’s right whatsoever – but I’d also bet they would be among those screaming bloody murder about too many predators in the woods, Oregon Department of No Fish and No Wildlife, etc., etc., etc.

Yeah, wild accusation, but it’s hugely frustrating to get press release after press release about flock-shot elk near Sisters, completely wasted does that thereby reduce blacktail herds’ productivity, wolves killed for no reason other than they’re wolves, bulls killed out of season, one of Western Oregon’s relatively rare Columbian whitetails shot in the town of Glide and be unable to make sense of it all outside of sheer human stupidity and greed and wanton destruction and the times we live in.

There aren’t a lot of clues in this case in the McMinnville Watershed, but troopers say that a brown Jeep and blue Ford Explorer spotted in the area “may possibly be involved.”

Anyone with tips on this case is asked to call OSP’s Northern Command Center at (800) 442-0776 for Trooper Tayler Jerome.

You can also call the Turn In Poacher hotline, (800) 452-7888 or *OSP (677), or send an email to TIP@state.or.us.

I hope somebody does. Preference points or cash are waiting.