Buck-deer season is underway in Oregon, and the poachers are out in full force. Thankfully, however, so is law enforcement – with a few tricks up their sleeves.
It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, too, but it’s still hard to beat a good ol’ decoy. Just ask Oregon State Police.
“Over the weekend Fish & Wildlife Troopers from the McMinnville Area Command conducted nighttime Wildlife Enforcement Decoys (WED)s in rural Washington and Yamhill Counties,” the precinct begins on Facebook Wednesday.
As they cite: Saturday, October 2 was the opening day of general any legal weapon buck deer season in Western Oregon. And most importantly, they also note that “Legal hours to hunt game mammals are from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.”
“On four occasions,” however, Oregon officials say that “hunters stopped their vehicle in the public roadway and discharged firearms at the decoys. The subjects were approximately 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 2 hours, and 3 hours outside of legal hunting hours.”
C’mon, poachers! Any Outsider will tell you that this is not the way.
“In each instance,” the precinct continues, “the subjects were cited criminally for Unlawful Take – Buck Deer and the firearms used were seized as evidence. Additional charges referred to the District Attorney’s Office include Hunting Prohibited Area – Public Road and Hunting with the Aid of Artificial Light.”
Oregon Poachers Taken Down by the Oldest Trick in the Book, Officials Wish to ‘Educate Hunters’
In light of these immediate incidents, Oregon State Police says they want to “educate hunters on the importance of lawful, ethical hunting.”
OSP cites “Rules developed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to allow for fair-chase hunting ensure a stable population of wildlife… Not only for future generations of hunters but for all people in the state to enjoy as well.”
In short: Poaching is not only theft from the hunting community, but from Oregon, OSP states. Well said!
Yet poaching remains a common crime – largely because lesser hunters see it as a lesser crime. Which it is not, as OSP reminds us.
“While poaching may not seem comparable to certain person crimes, wildlife offenses in Oregon are Class A Misdemeanor Crimes… When committed with a culpable mental state,” the precinct continues.
As they note, this is the highest level of crime possible lower than a Felony offense. And that goes for Oregon or elsewhere in the U.S.
As a result, those facing a first-time poaching charge in the state generally face:
- 3-year hunting license suspension
- loss of all accrued preference points
- forfeiture of evidence related to the crime
- some bench probation time
- court-mandated fines
- and restitution to the state for unlawfully taken wildlife
And if that’s not enough to deter the poachers of Oregon, “those who have their hunting license suspended in Oregon are added to the Wildlife Violator Compact,” OSP states. Anyone on this list cannot buy a license or tag in 48 states, not just Oregon, they continue. Sounds fair, doesn’t it, Outsiders?
So remember kids, even though this absolutely goes without saying… Poaching isn’t worth it.