SALEM, Ore. — Turn in a poacher? You could improve your chances of drawing a hunting tag.
House Bill 3158, approved by the 2017 Oregon Legislature, directed the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to offer big game preference points in lieu of a cash reward for people who provide information leading to poachers.
The program builds on the existing Turn in Poachers Program, which provides cash rewards for information about poaching.
Now a person who helps Oregon State Police solve a poaching case for the unlawful killing or waste of big game (deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, antelope, bear, cougar, or wolf) are eligible for that cash reward or hunter preference points.
“Poaching is a serious problem for Oregon’s wildlife,” said Travis Schultz, ODFW Access and Habitat Coordinator. “It can have significant long term impacts on our wildlife populations.”
In a 6-year study involving radio-collared mule deer in south central Oregon, researchers found that illegal poaching exceeded the legal harvest of mule deer.
"Even more troubling, poachers often killed does, not bucks, even though regulations prohibit taking female deer in order to protect breeding populations," according to ODFW. "Most poaching occurred during legal hunting seasons."
“Poaching is a heinous crime that affects all Oregonians and people who break the law need to be held accountable,” said Lt. Craig Heuberger, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division. “Our Fish and Wildlife Troopers make a lot of great cases that start from people reporting when they see something suspicious or wrong.”
“We are hoping this encourages more people to step forward and report poaching,” Heuberger said.
You can report wildlife violations via email to TIP@state.or.us or by calling 1-800-452-7888.