Maybe it’s just a spate of articles riding the coattails of that big piece in The Oregonian about the “surprising” amount of illegal deer killing going on in South-central Oregon.
Maybe it’s because many of us hunters are still out and about in the Northwest’s woods.
Maybe it’s the economy driving people to supplement the freezer illicitly — and game agencies to publicize incidents as state budgets shrink.
Whatever it is, there’s been a lot of poaching going on this month.
Minutes ago this afternoon, the Oregon State Police announced that two cow elk and one calf were killed and wasted near the Clatsop-Columbia County line two weeks ago. They report that three “hunters” were seen in the vicinity, and describe their vehicles as:
* Newer model white Dodge or Ford crew cab pickup with unknown company logos on the doors and tailgate
* Early 1990′s forest green Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle
• Black Ford Superduty crew cab pickup with camper shell
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call the T.I.P. (Turn in Poacher) line at 1-800-452-7888, Trooper Joseph Warwick at (503) 325-5515 ext. 53, or Trooper Tim Schwartz at (503) 325-5515 ext. 107.
Earlier today, OSP fired off a press release looking for tips in the killing of three more cow elk in Lane County. They were found yesterday.
And this morning, the Aberdeen Daily World reported on four dead cow elk found last Wednesday off Highway 101 near Arctic.
UPDATE: DECEMBER 2, 2010, 8:11 A.M.: KING 5 has a story by Gary Chittim on this incident.
Over in Idaho, an “alarming number” of deer and elk were shot recently in the Kamiah area southeast of Lewiston. According to a report, no meat was taken from the two does, one cow elk, two bucks and two other elk.
A “trophy-class” whitetail buck estimated to score in the 160 range was shot and, except for the head, left to rot near Whitebird.
IDFG is also dealing with some asshole who’s taunting them with pictures of dead animals; “Here is a picture of the nice buck I poached up in northern Idaho this year,” a letter from the presumed poacher reads, according to Reuters, which reports the person says he will “do all my Idaho hunting like this from now on.”
While ODFW deploys Robo Elk and airplanes to catch poachers, word came out over the holiday that WDFW ain’t got no wardens in Cowlitz County, home to the Cowlitz, Toutle, Coweeman, Kalama rivers, a slice of the Columbia River as well as the St. Helens elk herd.
And that might be part of the problem. When WDFW busted a Longview man for shooting a deer decoy a couple weeks back (and discovered he’d allegedly shot five others in recent times), Deputy Chief Mike Cenci who works in Olympia and lives in Pacific County was in on the bust.
According to the Aberdeen Daily World’s article, there’s six officers for the entire north, west and southern sides of the Olympic Peninsula, and only 96 across the state.
The World paraphrases Sgt. Matt Nixon as saying “the lack of enforcement has caused poachers to become more brazen.”
“And it worries me that we’ll see more of this as the budget deteriorates,” Nixon adds.