Hermiston Men Must Pay $15K Fine For Elk Poaching

A Northeast Oregon man and his father must pay a $15,000 fine after being convicted on charges of poaching a trophy bull elk with a rifle during last year’s bowhunting season.

The State Police’s Fish & Wildlife Division reports it seized the rack of the 10×7 at the residence of Jorey M. Peterson, 25, and Michael L. Peterson, 47, both of Hermiston, after receiving information they’d illegally taken it in the Walla Walla Unit.

“Local landowners had observed this particular elk in the same area for several years,” said Senior Trooper Rick Carter, lead investigator on the case.

10X7 BULL ELK INVOLVED IN THE PETERSON CASE. (OSP)

OSP also found the location where the animal was killed and determined it had since spoiled and the meat wasn’t fit for human consumption.

The huge fine comes thanks to a bill passed in 2009 by the Oregon Legislature which substantially boosts penalties for poachers convicted of killing trophy class animals, including bull elk with 6 or more points on an antler. Other penalties include:

* $7,500 for mule deer with at least four points on one antler, blacktail with three points on one antler, whitetail with four points on one antler and antelope with one horn 14 inches or greater.

* $25,000 for “mountain sheep” with at one full-curl horn and for mountain goats with one horn 5 inches or longer.

OSP reports that in mid-March, Jorey Peterson pled guilty in Umatilla County Circuit Court to Theft First Degree, Waste of Wildlife, and Illegal Take of Wildlife, and was sentenced to:

* $15,000 joint restitution with his father to ODFW
* 180 days in Jail – suspended
* 3 years bench probation
* 3 years hunting license suspension and forfeiture of seized evidence to the State of Oregon

The agency adds that Micheal Peterson also pled guilty in the same court to Theft First Degree and Aiding in a Wildlife Violation.  He was sentenced to:

* $15,000 joint restitution with his son to ODFW
* 180 days in Jail – suspended
* 3 years bench probation and forfeiture of seized evidence to the State of Oregon

The case was one of three highlighted in OSP Fish & Wildlife’s September 2010 newsletter focusing on poached trophy elk last season. Among the other cases, in early March, Adam M. Schreiber pled guilty in Benton County District Court to illegally killing a 6×7 on the lower Alsea River and was also fined $15,000 in restitution payable to ODFW as well as had his hunting privileges revoked for three years, according to OSP.

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