Oregon authorities say at least three elk poached outside Sisters.
With the fall and winter come hunting seasons, and unfortunately, instances of poaching too. Now, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking for leads in an October 28 instance of wildlife crime that left three elk shot and wasted.
The animals were shot near the intersection of Quail Tree Drive and Highway 126 east of Sisters. Authorities are saying this was a blatant "thrill kill" according to News Channel 21. Aside from removing the head of a bull and some of the meat from the front shoulders, the rest of the animals were wasted.
"They were all killed at the same time - or close to it - on opening day of the season," OSP F&W Sergeant Lowell Lea told the news station. "Even if someone makes a mistake and kills the wrong animal, at least if they report it, they aren't committing the addition crime of leave to waste."
It took a few days for all the animals to be discovered as they were all discovered separately, however authorities believe they are all connected. The spike and the cow were found only about 40 yards apart from one another. Examination of the carcasses led investigators to believe all three were shot the same day. Authorities and locals are understandably upset.
News 21 further reports that authorities thought the cow's meat might be salvageable, but that proved to not be the case. They are asking anyone who heard shots or otherwise noticed any strange activity to call Oregon's turn in poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-452-7888. Reports can also be made online through Oregon.gov.
It's worth noting that the state often offers preference points towards hard-to-get tags or cash rewards depending on the species.
Oregon State Police Stop Poaching Campaign Coordinator Yvonne Shaw also commented on the incident to News 21, noting that it affects everyone, not just hunters, when someone decides to steal wildlife.
"This is a blatent waste of Oregonians' natural resources," Shaw said. "Not only have these animals been removed from legal hunting in season, they are also removed from chance encounters with hikers, photographers and others who appreciate the opportunity to experience wildlife. We treasure those memories for the rest of our lives."
We will keep an eye on this story as it develops and will bring you any updates in the case right here at Wide Open Spaces.