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Elk poachers bagged after slaying Wenaha Unit trophy bulls

Trophy elk antlers from a poaching case in the Blue Mountains Wenaha Unit confiscatd by Oregon State Police. (Oregon State Police)
Trophy elk antlers from a poaching case in the Blue Mountains Wenaha Unit confiscatd by Oregon State Police. (Oregon State Police)

POACHING -- An Island City, Oregon father and son were arrested last week by Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division troopers following an investigation into the unlawful taking of two bull elk in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit in northeast Oregon. 

The Wenaha Unit is considered a premier controlled branch antler bull elk hunting unit for which only 20 tags are issued during archery season.  This is a very difficult tag to obtain, and for most hunters it may be a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity.

Read on for details from an Oregon State Police press release via Northwest Sportsman Magazine:

On Sept. 7, 2011, OSP Fish & Wildlife Division troopers arrested RICHARD “RICKY” ANDERSON, age 24, and RICHARD A. ANDERSON, age 46, both from Island City.

The investigation began when La Grande-area OSP Senior Trooper Kris Davis developed information that three bull elk were unlawfully taken in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 archery seasons by RICHARD “RICKY” ANDERSON.  The information alleged RICKY ANDERSON killed two branch antler bull elk using a general season archery tag which is not valid in the Wenaha Unit for branch antler bull elk.  He did possess a controlled hunt tag for the Wenaha Unit in 2010, but allegedly killed two branch antler bull elk.

With the assistance of the Union County District Attorney’s Office, a search warrant was obtained by OSP to search a residence in Island City.   During execution of the search warrant, OSP troopers seized one large set of elk antlers and other evidentiary items.  After analyzing the evidence, a second search warrant was served at the same residence where troopers seized three additional sets of elk antlers.  Overall, four sets of elk antlers were seized during the investigation – one 6X6 set of antlers had an official “Pope and Young” score of 319 1/8 – and all of the antlers were trophy class.

One of the sets of elk antlers seized is believed to be from an unlawfully killed bull elk by RICHARD A. ANDERSON in 2008 in Arizona.  Wildlife unlawfully taken from another state is illegal to possess in Oregon.  OSP is working with Arizona Game & Fish officers on this investigation.

Both men were lodged in the Union County Jail pending appearances in court on the following Class A misdemeanor wildlife crimes:

Richard “Ricky” Anderson, age 24

Wallowa County charges:
* Exceeding the Bag Limit of Bull Elk
* Unlawfully Taking Bull Elk

Union County charges:
* Unlawful Possession of Wildlife Parts
* Borrowing Another Person’s Elk Tag

Richard A. Anderson, age 46

Wallowa County charges:
* Aiding in a Violation of Wildlife Law

Union County charges:
* Unlawful Possession of Wildlife Parts (Bull Elk killed in Arizona in 2008)
* Loaning an Elk Tag

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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