An Oregon hunter becomes the prey in a years-long sting operation. Authorities have banned the man from Crater Lake National Park after killing a giant bull elk. The hunter illegally hunted on park property.
A court has ordered Adrian Wood, of White City, to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Wood will also serve three years of probation as well. The man pled guilty after the case prosecutors and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service built against him seemed fool-proof. Authorities charged the 44-year-old with poaching a trophy bull elk at the park a few years back.
It certainly took a few years to build up the case. Wood first came to the Wildlife Service’s attention all the way back in 2014. But after much patience and persistence, the agency finally acquired enough evidence to charge and convict Wood. As they say, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, or in this case also pay the fine.
“Our nation’s environmental laws are in place to protect vulnerable wildlife populations and ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy these animals as we do today. Mr. Wood preyed on elk and deer who were unaccustomed to being hunted and thus uniquely vulnerable to poaching,” U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams told Oregon Live.
The Hunter Poached Elk at the park
Officials first got wind of Wood’s illicit hunting activity when two people came forward in 2014. They reported the man for poaching at Crater Lake. But the agency needed more evidence, acquiring some pretty critical text messages from Wood and his wife.
In the text messages, Wood told her he pursued after an injured elk he shot. In another text to a friend, Wood boasted of his hunting skills. One text read, “I’ve killed 24 and get one every year.”
Two years later, Oregon State Police seemingly caught Wood in the act near Crater Lake’s boundary. The man had blood on his hands and clothes, and police later found an elk corpse in the area.
“The trooper noted that the elk’s head was sawed off and some meat was removed,” prosecutors said in a statement. “Shortly thereafter, Wood texted photos of himself posing with the elk. (Oregon State Police) obtained the photos and matched them to the carcass.”
A search of Wood’s house turned up guns, ammunition, and the remains of several animals. The hunter had apparently been busy in the past couple of years. In total, authorities found 12 deer, 13 elks, and a black bear on his property. It was enough evidence to indict the man in 2019. A grand jury charged him with violating the Lacey Act, which forbids hunting in national parks.
Authorities have banned Wood for life from ever entering Crater Lake again.