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Fish and wildlife poaching in Oregon

Do your part and report suspicious activity

Dial 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP or *677 from a mobile phone
Or email: TIP@osp.oregon.gov​ between 8:00 - 5:00, Monday - Friday
Contact the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division


Oregon Wildlife Coalition funds new reward program for turning in poachers of non-game species

When people conjure up the image of a poacher, it's usually a shady character shooting a trophy buck or bull out of season or without a tag for the thrill of the kill, the antlers or the meat. But other wildlife that aren't hunted are also poached.

A new coalition aims to fight that. Eight non-profit groups joined statewide efforts to combat poaching by creating a new cash reward program for tipsters who call the OSP Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line—this time benefiting these "non-game" species that aren't hunted. More...

 

Poaching is a problem in Oregon

  • Fleet Services
    Marine Fisheries
    Wildlife Enforcement Decoy

    Nationally, only a small portion of wildlife crimes are detected, with estimates ranging from 0.67 to 3.33 percent (Boone and Crockett, 2021).  

  • OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers recover about 250 deer, 150 elk, 17 bears and 60 or more sturgeon killed illegally each year. This is only a fraction of the total number of cases.
  • Sturgeon caviar sells for up to $200 an ounce. A large sturgeon could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in caviar and meat.
  • In 2020, The Oregon Hunters Association granted $20,600 in rewards to people who reported poaching.

Poaching is the illegal take of birds, wildlife, and fish. It also covers habitat destruction. Poaching steals natural resources from all Oregonians. Poaching wildlife and damaging habitats impact present and future generations of wildlife, impacts communities and the economy, and creates enforcement challenges.

Poaching can take many forms. Shooting a raptor. Keeping fish out of season. Sharing tags. Exceeding bag limits. People working the system to get resident licenses or tags when they aren’t residents also are poaching.

 

Receive preference points or a cash reward for turning in poachers

The Oregon Hunters Association established the Turn-in-Poachers (TIP) reward as an incentive for people to report suspicious activity. The fund pays cash for reports leading to citations or arrests. TIP rewards apply for illegal taking of fish and game mammals.

ODFW grants hunter preference points as an incentive for people who report poaching, if the report leads to a citation or arrest. You can apply those points to any legal Oregon hunting opportunity.  

Cash rewards and hunter preference points generally go to the first credible report of an incident. In some cases, they may be awarded to more than one individual. If you would like points or rewards for your call, be sure to leave your name and contact information so the Trooper can follow up with you. The information is confidential. You can also report anonymously.

Preference points rewards

5 Points-Bighorn sheep
5 Points-Rocky Mountain goat
5 Points-Moose
5 Points-Wolf
4 Points-Elk
4 Points-Deer
4 Points-Antelope
4 Points-Bear
4 Points-Cougar

Oregon Hunters Association Cash rewards

$1,000 Bighorn sheep, mountain goat & moose 
$500 Elk, deer & antelope 
$300 Bear, cougar & wolf
$300 Habitat destruction 
$200 Illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling license or tags
$200 Unlawful lending/borrowing big game tag(s)
$100 Game fish & shellfish
$100 Game birds or furbearers

Oregon Wildlife Coalition Cash rewards

Birds: $500 Hawk, Falcon, Eagle, Owl, Osprey
All other protected avian species: see category below for listed species 

Mammals: $500 Cougar, Bobcat, Beaver (public lands only), Black bears, Bighorn Sheep, Marten, Fisher, Sierra Nevada Red Fox

Species listed as "threatened" or "endangered" under state or federal Endangered Species Act (excludes fish): $1,000

Of note: Tipsters who report species covered by Both OHA and OWC get BOTH rewards. However, OWC rewards will not be given out if the tipster requests hunter preference points. Also, OWC rewards do not cover fish or other freshwater/marine species.

Oregon State Police illegal harvest of big game

2019

2020

2021

Pronghorn antelope

10

15

4

Bear

17

13

 7

Bighorn sheep

0

1

1

Bobcat

3

4

5

Cougar

6

1

1

Deer

185

220

115

Elk

103

161

94
Wolf   2 7

Total

324

447

234

How to identify poaching

Fish and wildlife managers and law enforcement officials rely on the general public to report poaching.

How to identify possible poaching on the water

  • Poachers taking fish- especially salmon and sturgeon- beyond legal limits, and outside of legal seasons because there is a market for these products.
  • Sturgeon secured near the bank, tied to something on the bank or placed in an unusual container.
  • People fishing at night, or walking on the riverbank after dark, retrieving things from the bushes or water.

Ways you can help:

How to identify possible poaching on the beach

  • Watch for people taking a container of clams, crab or fish off the beach, emptying it in coolers, then returning with empty containers to get more.
  • People stashing their catch in containers in bushes, under vehicle seats, or in the hold of a boat.
  • People placing clams or mussels in other peoples’ containers.

Ways you can help:

How to identify possible poaching in fields and forests

  • Vehicles parked haphazardly, indicating the driver got out in a hurry.
  • Vehicles with blood coming from the tailgate or trunk. Legal hunters field dress animals, which eliminates most blood.
  • Vehicles traveling slowly in the dark, casting light with a flashlight or spotlight.
  • People without visible tags on big game animals.

Ways you can help

Enforcing Oregon’s hunting and fishing laws

Oregon partners with Oregon State Police to enforce crimes against fish, wildlife, and habitat destruction. The states of Oregon and Alaska are the only two in the country that work with their state police rather than having their own game wardens. You can hear more about how OSP Fish and Wildlife Division works to protect Oregon’s natural resources through a recent Beaver State podcast on poaching: https://myodfw.com/articles/beaver-state-podcast-episode-41-poaching

Snapshot of poaching in Oregon

The monthly Field Review newsletter from OSP Fish and Wildlife Division reports news, cases and events related to poaching and other activities.

ODFW news releases – highlight poaching cases and events in the news

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