Poached elk found on private property in Oregon
Oregon State Police via Central Daily Oregon News on Youtube

Oregon State Police Seeks Public Help to Find Two Elk Poachers

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division is looking for two suspects who are allegedly responsible for poaching two elk on private property in Deschutes County. A man and woman were reportedly seen by a witness putting the head and antlers of a bull elk into a red pickup near the intersection of Highway 20 and Tweed Road west of Tumalo on September 26 between 5:00 and 6:10 a.m.

The suspected poachers did not have permission to hunt on the property, and a second bull elk was found dead within "an agricultural pivot on the same property," OSP explained to KOIN.

The poachers were also believed to use archery tools to kill the elk a day after archery elk season had ended. In response to the incident, Doug Stout, vice president of the Bend Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association, told the Central Oregon Daily that poaching has increased in the area. "It's estimated that more deer and elk are killed by poachers illegally in Oregon than legally killed by legitimate legal hunters, so it is a significant problem," he said. "Every animal that is poached is one that can't be harvested legally, and it also takes one out of the breeding pool which increases the downward spiral of the population. The other problem is these poachers, they're not hunters. They're actually criminals, and they're criminals that are stealing from the people of the state of Oregon."

Stout also found it interesting that the poachers abandoned the second elk's body. "It's such a waste," he said. "You've got a 600-pound elk with a lot of...what I consider to be the best meat on the planet, and to shoot it and leave it to lay, not only is it criminal but it borders on insanity for me and a lot of people."

So why hunt elk with archery equipment a day after archery elk season ends? Maybe they figured they needed something quieter than a rifle?

Yvonne Shaw is the Stop Poaching campaign coordinator with Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and tried to explain the poaching thought process to the Central Oregon Daily.

"Just the thrill kill. They just like going out and killing things," she said. "Another [reason] is for a trophy, so they'll kill a magnificent animal and just take its head or antlers or paws. Some people poach for profit. When we talk about, for instance, poaching bear or sturgeon, there's a robust black market for those parts."

While there are 128 state wildlife troopers currently on the anti-poaching beat in Oregon, Shaw said illegal hunters are still difficult to track down. Often, the state police and wildlife agencies wind up relying on the public for help. Tips called into officials have historically helped them find and prosecute poachers, and law-abiding hunters can play an important whistle-blower role if they witness wrongdoing. It can also pay off in the form of hunting tag lottery preference points or cash rewards for"information leading toward a conclusion in the investigation of the illegal killing of wildlife and waste of big game."

If you have info to share regarding this incident or any suspected illegal hunting activity in Oregon, call the Oregon State Police Tip-line at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TI[email protected]. Reference this specific case number SP2225969.

READ MORE: Are Poaching Penalties Too Light?