In the community

Poached moose may have belonged to small Malheur County herd

ONTARIO – The cow moose killed north of Ontario three weeks ago may have part of a small local herd of the animals or wandered into Malheur County from Idaho, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A concerned citizen reported the dead moose in a private field Jan. 16. The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division is investigating the incident and the Oregon Hunters Association is offering a $2,000 reward for information regarding the poaching case.

The moose was killed inside the Beulah Wildlife Management Unit.

“We have historically held a very small Shiras moose population in Malheur County on the order of maybe a few verified sightings per year,” said Tucker Freeman, a district wildlife biologist for the Ontario office of the state wildlife agency.

Freeman said the majority of moose sightings occur “in the Snake River drainage and most everyone we speak with is very pleased with the opportunity to have seen a moose in the area.”

The agency estimates there are 50 adults and calves in the area.

Moose are not native to Oregon and there is no legal hunting season for animals. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, moose migrated to Oregon from Washington or Idaho and in 1960, biologists received the first confirmed sightings of moose in northeast Oregon. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of moose sightings increased in the Blue Mountains, including the first documented calf in 2005.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Senior Trooper Casey Hunter through the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or dial *OSP (mobile) and reference case number SP24017131. Callers may remain anonymous.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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