Elk NetworkCow Elk Left to Waste in Northwest Oregon

General | February 18, 2022

Below is a news release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. For 2022, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

A cow elk was shot and left to waste near the Valsetz Mainline Road in Polk County on Feb. 11, 2022. OSP would like to hear from anyone with information on this case.

OSP F&W Troopers received a call on the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line from a member of the public who found the decomposing elk carcass just off the roadway. When Troopers began investigating the incident, members of a nearby logging crew said they saw two men field dress and pull one elk out of a clear-cut on the afternoon of Feb. 11. The other cow elk, which appears to have been killed by a rifle shot, was left behind at the kill site.

There was a legal cow elk hunt in the area at the time, according to OSP Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Doug Shugart. He is not ruling out the possibility that a legal hunter crossed the line into poaching by accidently taking a second animal. Leaving any animal to waste is an additional crime, and this was a very large cow, according to Lt. Shugart.

“We are still working to determine what happened in this case,” Lt. Shugart said, “But we do know that sometimes people hunting may take an extra animal, and it’s important they inform us so the animal can be salvaged and donated to charity instead of going to waste.”

The poaching salvage program offered through OSP supplements food pantries, churches and other community food resources. When OSP Troopers or other law enforcement locate fresh carcasses, they can deliver them to nearby processors or butchers who cut and wrap the meat for community use. Elk meat is highly desired because it is a natural food that forms the base of many meals. An average-sized cow yields about 160 pounds of meat.

“Poaching removes fish and wildlife from all Oregonians,” said ODFW Stop Poaching campaign coordinator, Yvonne Shaw, “The silver lining on some of these cases is that the meat can help the community. That could have happened in this case, but it didn’t, and that’s a shame.”

The standard TIP Line reward is $500 or four ODFW Hunter Preference Points for information that leads to an arrest or citation in the case of an elk poaching. Oregon Hunters Association manages the TIP cash reward fund.

(Photo credit:  Oregon State Police)