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Bighorn sheep community offers $4500 for information on poaching.

March 7, 2024

BAKER CITY, Ore. — Rewards stand at $4,500 for information leading to the felony arrest of the person who illegally shot a Rocky Mountain Bighorn ram south of Baker City last November. The poacher took the animal's head and horns, leaving the rest to waste.

Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation (OR WSF) President Kevin Martin announced they will add $2,000 to the standard Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) reward of $2,000 and the Oregon Wildlife Coalition (OWC) reward of $500, for a total of $4500. Tipsters who call the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line may opt for five hunter preference points from ODFW in lieu of the cash reward. Information must lead to an arrest or citation, and tipsters may remain anonymous.

Poaching a bighorn carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in fines, as well as hunting license suspension and forfeiture of the firearm used to commit the crime. Forfeiture of any wildlife parts, including the head and horns, is standard, according to officials. In this case, additional charges of waste of a game mammal would likely apply.

"It's so hard to believe that someone would shoot and waste such an amazing animal," Martin said, "The Lookout Mountain herd of bighorn sheep is an area Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), OR WSF and our partners have been focusing a lot of resources to understand what has caused the ongoing loss of animals and this criminal act just adds to that loss."

OSP Fish and Wildlife Trooper Dakotah Keys, responding to a call from the public, discovered the headless carcass on Nov. 30, 2023. The carcass was on BLM land, near Hibbard Creek Road, which is within the Lookout Mountain Wildlife Management Unit.

California bighorn sheep are the most abundant subspecies in Oregon with an estimated 3,700 animals that make up 32 herds in central and southeast Oregon. Oregon's estimated 800 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep live in the northeast corner of the state, in canyons of the Snake River and its tributaries and in alpine areas of the Wallowa Mountains. Don Whittaker, ODFW ungulate coordinator, emphasized the long-term effects of poaching.

"Not only are poaching acts like this considered theft of a public resource highly valued by all Oregonians, including hunters and non-hunters," Whittaker said, "It undermines the long-term effort to restore and conserve this iconic species on Oregon's landscape for future Oregonians yet to come."

ODFW biologists and other conservationists carefully monitor and manage bighorn sheep throughout Oregon as a valuable natural resource. The nimble animals are a draw for recreationists around the state, and hikers and photographers go to great lengths to get a glimpse of them in the wild. Hunters compete to win a once-in-a-lifetime hunt for the animals, prized for their spectacular horns and glorious coats.

Conservation groups like Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon Wild and the Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation actively inform their members about the detriments of poaching. Martin has dedicated many years to safeguarding resources like Oregon's Bighorns.

"The lack of respect for an animal that represents the beauty, strength and wild lands of Oregon is just sad," Martin said, "Add to that the loss for all of Oregonians the opportunity to see and interact with an animal, that has been stolen from all of us."

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at

Caption: Poachers took the horns and head from a bighorn ram in the Lookout Mountain Wildlife Management Unit. Oregon Hunters Association is offering a reward of $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest or citation. Photo by OSP

Bighorn sheep. Photo by ODFW.

The Turn In Poachers Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among state agencies, sportsmen and other conservationists, landowners, and recreationists to engage the public in combatting Oregon's poaching problem. Our goal is to: Incentivize reporting on wildlife crimes through the TIP Line; Strengthen enforcement by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers; and Support prosecution in becoming an effective deterrent. The campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information.


Contact: Media:
To report tips: TIP Line: 800-452-7888 or *OSP (*677) from mobile
Yvonne Shaw, Turn In Poachers campaign, 503-383-6859
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