Tipsters who turn in poachers in Oregon could earn twice the cash reward.
The Oregon Hunters Association says it is doubling down on efforts to prevent the illegal take of fish and wildlife in the state by doubling how much it pays out if the case results in a successful citation, and the organization has also added two new offenses it will pay rewards for.
Report a snagger or habitat destruction and you could earn $200 or $300, while rewards for bighorn, mountain goat and moose poaching have jumped from $1,000 to $2,000; for elk, deer and antelope, from $500 to $1,000; and for a bear, cougar or wolf, from $300 to $600. See below for the full schedule.
The enhanced rewards come as the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division, ODFW and Department of Justice and their partners work to spread the word about the impact poachers have on Oregon’s natural resources, including the launch of Protect Oregon’s Wildlife, a new website meant to really bring the message home to the general public.
It’s the latest platform in the Beaver State’s bipartisan legislatively funded campaign that began in 2019 to combat illegal take and reports that 2,779 clams, 666 crabs, 249 other shellfish and invertebrates, 196 salmon/steelhead, 153 deer,136 bottomfish and 134 elk were poached last year alone.
And that’s just the known tally.
“Only 5 percent of poaching crimes are identified and prosecuted,” Protect Oregon’s Wildlife states.
Indeed, hunters and anglers will be familiar with the scale of the problem – an ODFW study found that more mule deer are poached in Central Oregon than are taken legally.
OHA reports that it paid out $100,000 in rewards over a recent five-year span. Informations can also choose to take ODFW preference points instead of greenbacks, with half of all tipsters doing so, an illustration that sportsmen are helping police their own.
The new reward schedule is as follows:
Bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose – $2,000
Elk, deer, pronghorn – $1,000
Bear, cougar, wolf – $600
Illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling license or tags – $200
Salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, halibut – $200
Upland birds, waterfowl – $200
Furbearers – $200
Illegal spotlighting – $200
Snagging/attempt to snag – $200
Habitat destruction – $300
“OHA has continually and successfully pushed for tougher laws that increase penalties for poaching,” the organization said. “OHA also provided the initiative for Oregon’s Stop Poaching Campaign and lobbied to secure funding for additional law-enforcement officers and a traveling poaching case prosecutor, as well as a poaching awareness campaign to involve the public in turning in poachers.”
In particularly egregious cases, rewards can run higher.
Payments are sent to OSP Headquarters and disbursed to the tipster by a state fish and wildlife trooper.
To report incidents via the Turn In Poaching, or TIP, program, call (800) 452-7888, text *677 or email TIP@osp.oregon.gov.