Editor’s note: A photo of one of the poached elk appears at the bottom of this story. It may be disturbing for some.
The reward to find whoever was responsible for poaching three elk near Sisters in 2020 has increased to $6,500 thanks to help from the Oregon Hunters Association, the state fish and wildlife department announced Tuesday. It’s well above the normal $500 that OHA says it normally raises for such cases.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the bull, cow and spike elk were discovered separately on or about Oct. 28, 2020. But all three were in the same area and appear to have been killed at the same time. All three elk were most likely were shot on opening day of the East Central Cascade elk season
ODFW said the cow and spike were left to waste in what it called a “blatant demonstration of a thrill-kill.” The large bull had its head and shoulders removed as a trophy.
OREGON POACHING: OSP looking for 2 people, truck after poaching of elk in Deschutes County
OREGON POACHING: New OSP K-9 team that investigates poaching will be based in Bend
Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers discovered the first carcass, a cow elk, on Oct. 30 — reported by a hunter who came across the carcass while scouting the Dry Canyon area east of Sisters near Highway 126 and Quail Tree Drive. ODFW said troopers investigating the area around the cow subsequently discovered a large bull elk carcass.
Although bull elk were in season at the time, ODFW said the poacher had taken only the head, antlers and some shoulder meat. ODFW says it is a crime to leave carcasses to waste even if it is legal to kill the animal.
Two days later, a second call came in from a hunter who reported finding a spike elk carcass. A spike elk is a one-year-old male. ODFW said troopers located the spike elk about 40 yards from where the cow had been.
“Based on decomposition, all three animals were shot at or near the same time, and certainly the same day according to OSP F&W Senior Trooper Creed Cummings, who processed the scene,” ODFW said.
OREGON POACHING: Poacher receives 10 days in jail after poaching bull elk in Eastern Oregon
OREGON POACHING: Man with ‘Elk Fever’ self-reports killing 1 elk, 3 more mortally wounded
“Sometimes people are reckless in shooting and they get the wrong species or gender. We were hoping that at least the cow (meat) would be salvageable, but it wasn’t,” Trooper Cummings said in a statement, “It’s disappointing that they were just left. And it adds another charge to the initial crime.”
OHA Bend, Redmond, Capitol, Josephine and Mid-Columbia chapters donated to help increase the reward amount, along with several private donors. ODFW said the Bend chapter hosted an online auction which raised $2,150.
“They did this for their own satisfaction. I don’t know how they find this satisfying,” said Greg Petsch, who ODFW is the banquet chair and led the fundraising effort.