Two men have been charged by Oregon State Police in connection with the alleged poaching of a pair of protected bighorn sheep.
Two bighorn sheep were killed and beheaded on private land along Interstate 84 about 90 miles east of Portland and a pair of men have been arrested and charged on suspicion of poaching the protected game animals.
Cody Plagmann, a 37-year-old, and Justin Samora, 32 were found on the Interstate after police received reports of a man that was seen gutting a big game animal. Troopers then found Samora in a vehicle and began questioning him. During that time passing motorists told police that another was seen hiding out in the brush nearby.
It was then that the troopers found Plagmann along with the severed heads of two bighorn sheep.
State wildlife department spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy echoed the anger of many when she said, “Bighorn sheep are one of the rarest game mammals in Oregon today. Because of this, hunters can only draw the tag and get this hunting opportunity once in their lifetime and many never do despite years of applying.”
The sheep killed were part of the herd that lives along the Hood River near Biggs Junction, a herd that is never legal to hunt under any circumstances.
Plagmann was arrested and charged under suspicion of taking and possessing bighorn sheep, wasting of a game animal and hunting on private property. Samora faces charges of aiding in the alleged poaching violation.
The two men face some serious penalties if found guilty including $6,250 in fines and up to a year in jail. It’s possible that the state of Oregon could seek up to $25,000 in civil damages as well.
Bighorn sheep in the state number about 5,000 and are only hunted under strict guidelines. In 2015 alone, 22,000 hunters applied for a mere 96 tags for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take one animal. One tag alone last year sold for an astounding $160,000 at auction.
With that information alone the hunting fraternity will be livid and disgusted by an act of poaching that took two protected animals off the hoof. With 99 percent of the hunting community practicing fair chase and take, many hearing of this news will be angered, but those same hunters and outdoorsmen are also famous for their patience in letting justice be served.