Deer decoys help nab poachers as Oregon’s hunting season begins

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Oregon’s general buck deer-hunting season opened Saturday, and for law enforcement personnel that represented open season on prospective poachers.

Oregon State Police announced Wednesday that Fish & Wildlife Troopers deployed Wildlife Enforcement Decoys in rural Washington and Yamhill Counties over the weekend.

The deer decoys were placed within sight of roads at night, when hunting is illegal, and Troopers waited for the inevitable.

On four occasions hunters stopped their vehicle in the public roadway and discharged firearms at the decoys,” OSP stated on Facebook. “The subjects were approximately 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 2 hours, and 3 hours outside of legal hunting hours.”

The state takes illegal hunting seriously, stating that “poaching is not only theft from the hunting community, but from Oregon.”

The subjects were cited for unlawful take of buck deer and their firearms were seized as evidence. They also face charges of hunting in prohibited areas – shooting deer from roads is illegal – and with the aid of artificial light.

The crimes are Class A misdemeanors, just below felony offenses. Punishments can include a three-year hunting-license suspension, forfeiture of evidence, court-mandated fines, loss of accrued preference points, restitution, and probation.

Additionally, under the Wildlife Violator Compact, hunters with suspended licenses cannot purchase licenses or tags in the 48 states that participate in the Compact.

“The Oregon State Police wants to educate hunters on the importance of lawful, ethical hunting,” OSP stated. “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.”

–Deer decoy image courtesy of Oregon State Police