Gales Creek Valley – Nine elk were shot and killed, three of which were illegally taken, near Stringtown Road between Ritchey Road and Oppenlander Lane on Saturday morning after a number of individuals chased the elk from private property they did not have permission to hunt on to property they were permitted to hunt on, according to eyewitness reports and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was literally like a firing squad this morning.” said local resident Maisie Malnerich-Vanderzanden, who lives close to where the elk were shot. She and other neighbors said that the area had around 20 people parked in driveways and lining up to wait for the elk to move.
One area resident, who wished to remain anonymous, saw the same individuals in the area leading up to the incident using drones to track the elk herd – which would be a violation of Oregon law after a bill passed in 2015 by the Oregon State Legislature outlawed the use of drones for any purpose involved with hunting, fishing, or trapping, including using drones to scout, track, or locate any wildlife.
Details are still emerging in the incident, which saw three elk seized by the Oregon State Police and multiple citations given to the alleged poachers for failing to tag the elk properly and other violations of hunting regulations.
The three elk that were seized will be donated by the Oregon State Police to needy families, according to Sargeant Bob Ray with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident is under investigation by the Oregon State Police, who could not be reached for comment.
This article originally stated that seven elk were illegally taken. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office later clarified that only three of the seven elk were taken illegally. Oregon State Police later updated the total number of elk killed to nine.
Sources and more information:
Sergeant Bob Ray, Washington County Sheriff’s Office PIO
Eyewitness reports from local residents
Oregon HB 2534