A 66-year-old man blamed “elk fever,” officials said, for illegally shooting into a herd of elk, killing one animal and mortally wounding three others in January in the Nehalem area on the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife didn’t name the man due to an ongoing investigation, the agency said in a news release.
The man was charged with multiple counts, including: hunting via a prohibited method; shooting from the roadway; unlawful taking/possession of antlerless elk; and unlawful taking/possession of bull elk.
Troopers seized a .308 rifle for evidence, along with the elk the man had tagged and processed.
The Oregon State Police said in a news release that State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers responded to a call into the Turn in Poachers tip line and found three wounded elk in a herd of about 30. Troopers at that time put down a mortally wounded cow elk.
The hunter, who had a late-season cow elk tag and permission to hunt in the area from the landowner, had already left with a cow elk.
The next day, troopers again checked the herd and put down a mortally wounded bull. A wounded cow elk ran into the Nehalem River and is believed to have drowned.
State Police said the landowner reported the hunter had stopped at the road and started shooting. The landowner later called the man and encouraged him to turn himself in for poaching. The man did turn himself in.
The bull elk and cow elk that troopers were forced to put down and the cow elk the subject had processed were donated. Two elk went to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and one elk went to the Tillamook County Jail, according to State Police.
Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. To support his work, subscribe to the Statesman Journal. Urness is the author of “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.