Poaching is detrimental to the ecosystem, animal populations, and it is a major issue in the state of Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) says the state has passed legislation to address the issue “like no other state has.”
“This has no part of hunting. If you’re a poacher, you’re a poacher. I don’t want you apart of my community,” President of the Oregon Hunters’ Association and Turn in Poachers (TIP) coordinator Steven Hagan said.
Hagan has been hunting for 43 years.
Poaching impacts all species, but it has especially effected the mule deer population.
“Adult female survival over winter is at 70%. Modeling shows we need to be at 80% to keep a population even, so we’re trending downward. Poaching is a huge part of that,” Hagan said.
- Mule deer protection proposal could restrict development in Deschutes Co.
- Mule deer doe trapped in wire fencing in Powell Butte rescued by OSP
Poaching is incredibly difficult to detect, as most illegal hunts are committed in rural areas.
Yvonne Shaw with ODFW says it is estimated that only 5% of poaching is reported, making it difficult to track statistical trends.
“We do know that in a mule deer population in southern Oregon, it was discovered that poachers were taking more animals than legal hunters. In fact, poachers were more likely to take does, which impacted the number of animals on the landscape.”
Hagan says if you see it, report it.
“I want people to open their mouth. And not just the hunting community, to do so, but the non-hunting community as well, which is obviously a bigger part of the citizens of the state of oregon. I want them to get boiling mad and say ‘not on our watch.'”
Poaching can come with a whole range of legal penalties, from the suspension of your hunting or fishing licenses and fines reaching more than $6,000, to a year in jail.
If you suspect poaching, you can call the TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP or *677 from a mobile phone. You can also send an email.