In November of 2016, an Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Trooper responded to a location near Elgin, Oregon where two large bull elk were shot and completely left to waste. At the time, OSP was not able to develop any suspects and therefor, put forward a public request for information relating to the unlawful taking of the two bull elk. Through the assistance of the Oregon Hunter’s Association Turn-In-Poacher (TIP) program, as well as the public information request, three suspects were identified and following the investigation, were charged with multiple wildlife offenses.

One of the individuals, Nathan William Crouch (27) of Elgin, was recently sentenced for his involvement with these crimes after admitting that he was the one that shot both elk. On November 27th, 2017, Crouch plead guilty to four misdemeanor offenses and Union County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Powers sentenced Crouch with the following: 60 days in jail, an 8 year hunting license suspension as well as other stipulations, and $17,500 in restitution, $16,000 of which will go to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Union County Senior Deputy District Attorney, Christopher L. Storz recently commented that “The defendants in this case just left these animals to rot. They took nothing and by the time they were found, no meat was salvageable. Cases like this one emphasize the need for felonies in the Oregon Game Code, something that currently just isn’t provided for under Oregon law”.

Under current Oregon law, wildlife offenses such as this can only be charged as a class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and fines not to exceed $6,250.

According to Lieutenant Tim Schwartz of the Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division; “Unfortunately, we see cases like this every year throughout the state and many times there is little evidence available at the scene to identify the suspect(s). In this specific case, the public’s involvement was paramount and is an excellent example of the community and law enforcement, coming together to apprehend the individuals responsible”. Captain Jeff Samuels, who is the Division Director for the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division, expressed thanks to the Trooper, public and the Union County District Attorney’s Office for making sure this case was followed through.

The Oregon State Police would like to remind the public that any time they see or have information related to unlawful hunting activity or anything suspicious, they call the TIP line (1-800-452-7888). The TIP number, which routes callers directly to OSP dispatch centers, can also be located on the reverse side of Oregon hunting and angling licensing documents.

The Oregon Hunters Association offers rewards to persons, through their TIP fund, for information leading to the issuance of a citation to a person(s), or an arrest made of a person(s) for illegal possession, killing, or taking of bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose, elk, deer, antelope, bear, cougar, wolf, furbearers and/or upland game birds and water fowl. TIP rewards can also be paid for the illegal taking, netting, snagging, and/or dynamiting of game fish, and/or shell fish, and for the destruction of habitat.

In addition rewards may be paid for information leading to the issuance of a citation to a person(s), or an arrest made of a person(s) who have illegally obtained Oregon hunting/angling license or tags. People who “work” the system and falsely apply for resident license or tags are not legally hunting or angling and are considered poachers.

Rewards:

  • Bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose $1,000
  • Elk, deer, antelope $500
  • Bear, cougar, wolf $300
  • Habitat destruction $300
  • Illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling license or tags $200
  • Game fish, shell fish $100
  • Upland birds, waterfowl $100
  • Furbearers $100

How to report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity: