Oregon Elk Poachers’ Punishment Includes Publishing Apology in Local Newspaper

by Lauren Boisvert

Two elk poachers from Oregon have received an interesting punishment on top of their other punishment. Chris and Stephanie Lardy were convicted of poaching multiple elk in Harney County, OR, as witnesses saw them shooting into the fleeing herd last December.

The Lardy’s were in their SUV with two passengers and were seen pursuing the herd of elk. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, they held four late-season antlerless elk hunting tags. They legally tagged two female elk. It is also reported that they left two females, two calves, and a male elk to rot in the brush.

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division conducted a traffic stop on the highway near the incident. They pulled over the Lardys and their passengers and questioned them. Chris Lardy claimed they were returning home after hunting, having filled two of their four tags. When troopers asked about the dead elk, Lardy claimed they may have wounded an elk in the leg. They had not gone to search for it because of time constraints.

There was enough evidence to convict the Lardys for the poaching. For their punishment, the couple must pay a combined amount of $2,500 in restitution to the state. Additionally, they lose their hunting licenses for three years, and must take a hunting education course to learn responsible hunting. On top of all that, Chris Lardy must publish a public apology in the Burns Times-Herald, the local newspaper.

The sentence also included six days in jail and 18 months of bench probation. This means Lardy is under direct supervision of the sentencing judge.

Oregon Couple Poaches Multiple Elk, Fish and Wildlife Officials Weigh In on Responsible Hunting

Sergeant Erich Timko with the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division commented on the case. “Each hunter is responsible for every round they fire,” he said. “And hunters have a responsibility to make a reasonable effort to track and retrieve potentially wounded wildlife. This is a prime example of when that is not done. These are egregious results.”

He also commented on the practice of hunting, and how it’s sometimes difficult to stay on one target. In those cases, a hunter must make a tough decision. “However, even more so on antlerless hunts, it can be difficult to pick one specific animal and stay on target,” said Timko. “And at times, you must make that decision not to fire unless you are 100 percent positive you are shooting at that animal. If you cannot be 100 percent positive of your target, then you have responsibility not to take that shot.”

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Big Game Program Manager Brian Wolfer condemned the Lardys’ actions, saying, “There are so many facets of wrongdoing in this case. These people acted in blatant disregard for the elk, hunting laws and basic hunting ethics. To chase the elk with a vehicle and then leave five elk to waste because they didn’t check to see what they may have hit is almost unbelievable.”