Members of the Bend and Ochoco chapters of the Oregon Hunter's Association are sick and tired of poachers killing wildlife and leaving the meat to waste, said Bend chapter President Mike Whitney, the Central Oregon director for the statewide group.
“They just cut the heads off and take the antlers,” he said.
He said each chapter chipped in $500 that, when added to another $500 already offered by the state, amounts to a $1,500 reward for information leading to arrests in a pair of poaching cases near Bend in past two weeks.
A pair of wildlife filmmakers found four dead deer in the Kotzman Basin on Nov. 17, according to Oregon State Police. The deer had been shot the day before and were headless.
Two more dead deer — a headless buck and a doe — were found Sunday about seven miles south of the first discovery.
The dead deer were found in winter range for the animals, the open country they move to for breeding and feeding during the colder months, said Senior Trooper Andrew Menlow of the Oregon State Police.
He said the poachers likely took the heads of the deer as trophies.
During this time of year, deer aren't as wary of humans as they normally are, particularly the bucks, said Duane Dungannon, state coordinator for the Oregon Hunter's Association.
“They are just plain dumb, they are focused on procreating and not much else,” he said.
He said he is hopeful the reward being offered for information in the poaching cases near Bend will bring out information that leads to arrests.
Whitney agreed, saying the poachers killed the deer for a “sick sport.”
“This is the most vulnerable time for deer,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Turn-In-Poachers tip line at 1-800-452-7888 or the OSP at 541-388-6213.