From Northeast Oregon Now: Just after 6 p.m. (last) Sunday, an Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife trooper came across a Jeep Cherokee with the driver’s door ajar (at an intersection near Pendleton and the Umatilla River). The trooper noted an empty gun case and ammunition inside the vehicle. About two and a half hours later, another Jeep Cherokee arrived at the intersection with five occupants inside. The trooper observed the occupants were in possession of the head of a freshly killed mature buck mule deer. (Oregon State Police Photo)
Most disturbing is that the poachers ranged in age from 19 to 23. The 23-year-old was deemed to be the shooter and charged with killing the deer out of season and wasting the game meat. (Rifle deer season in Oregon doesn’t start until October.) The others were charged with lesser crimes. One was a 19-year-old girl, who I suspect was along for the joy ride and got caught up in the crime.
19 to 23 years old… We as a society have got to raise our kids better than this!
This is just one example of a wildlife crime that happens all across America this time of year. I post it to remind us all: If you hear or see and can confirm poaching in your area this season, turn the criminals in! Poachers, no matter their age, steal our game and give hunters a bad name.
In researching this story I ran across a 2010 article that revealed a shocking level of deer poaching in central Oregon. State biologists did a study and found that poachers kill almost as many mule deer as legal hunters do. Of 500 mule deer fitted with radio collars between July 2005 and 2010, 128 animals died during the research. Poachers killed 19 of the deer and hunters legally shot 21.
Poaching “is out of hand in Oregon,” said Ken Hand, a regional director for the Mule Deer Foundation. “It’s going on all over the state, 365 days a year… I just hear about it constantly.”
My first thought is age is irrelevant. Would it be better if they were young kids joy-riding and thrill-killing, or a cantankerous old codger killing trophies and dodging the law? Doesn’t matter.
Secondly, 128 mule deer died and only 40 were shot by humans (21 legally)? They’ve got a natural mortality issue that’s way bigger than the poaching problem.
Poachers are tough on all of us. I hate to hear of the young folks turning to the wrong side. I wonder if they just never had someone to show them the right way to go about things, or did they just not have the confidence to believe that they could accomplish what they were looking for the right way. Or, were they just mistaking thrill killing for the excitement of hunting. Hopefully the penalties they will pay will turn them on the right path. I doubt it but hats off to Oregon DNR for catching up with them.
The degradation of the family unit all across the US will cripple the country. It is heading that way now and may be too late to stop.
Instead of fines how about sentencing these people to jail time. 60 days for poaching and 60 more for wasting meat sounds about right. With no early release, please.
I don’t know about where you live Rodger, but in my area non-violent offenders are let out early due to overcrowding in the jail or not jailed @ all.
I think LOTS of community service and fines make more sense in crimes like this.