GLENDALE — The largest reward ever offered for information in an Oregon big-game poaching case has yet to uncover the persons responsible for a string of elk-killings in the Glendale area.

GLENDALE — The largest reward ever offered for information in an Oregon big-game poaching case has yet to uncover the persons responsible for a string of elk-killings in the Glendale area.

But Oregon State Police investigators believe that a $17,500 reward offered through the Oregon Hunters Association's Turn In Poachers program eventually will lead to those who have killed and wasted seven branch-antlered bulls here dating back to October.

"I'm still figuring that someone will call and it will shake loose," says OSP Sgt. Dean Perske, whose Roseburg office of the OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division is spearheading the case.

Even an anonymous call that helps turn police onto the culprits can earn someone the reward under the TIP program.

So far, a few possible suspects have been cleared and some "finger-pointing" among the southern Douglas County community has occurred, but nothing solid has surfaced yet, Perske says.

"I'm sure (the poachers) are local and people are trying to figure out a way to tip on them, get the money and not get egg on their face," Perske says.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists are considering placing some fliers in the Glendale area to alert potential tipsters to the size of the reward being offered, Perske says.

The Roosevelt elk killings are one of the most egregious serial elk-poaching cases in Oregon history, and the reward pledged so far from the Glendale community and statewide sporting groups is one of the highest Oregon State Police brass can remember.

The latest killings came early on July 10 when three large bull elk — one 5-point and two 6-point bulls — were shot and left to waste in a field off McCullough Creek Road in rural Douglas County, according to OSP.

All three were at an old Douglas County landfill site about 200 yards apart, OSP said.

Local residents reported hearing three shots fired in the area just before 4 a.m., police said.

Troopers believe the shooter or shooters are the same people in all seven cases, Perske says.

All seven killings have occurred in the same general area and followed the same pattern — shots at elk near roadways at night, with no attempt to salvage meat or antlers.The reward is more than three times bigger than the one offered in a 1995 elk-poaching case at the Dean Creek elk-viewing area near Reedsport and eclipses the $10,000 reward offered for the poaching of a bighorn sheep near Paisley in January of 2006.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to telephone the OSP's Roseburg office at 541-440-3334, ext. 3417, or the TIP line at 1-800-472-7888.

Cabezon quota reached

Recreational bottomfishers gobbled up the remnants of their cabezon quota this week, triggering a closure to the offshore fishery from boats beginning today.

Landing data for the sport fishery indicate that ocean anglers have boated the state-imposed harvest cap of 15.8 metric tons of cabezon, leading to the closure.

Any cabezon caught while fishing for black and blue rockfish or lingcod must be released unharmed.

Unlike rockfish species, cabezon do not have air bladders and therefore do not suffer from barotrauma — expansion or rupture of the air bladder when the fish are brought up from deep water — so they can be released safely and effectively.

The closure does not affect shore and jetty anglers or shored-based divers. Shore fishing is managed independently of the boat fishery.

Offshore anglers already have seen their fishing areas restricted and the daily aggregate bag limit has dropped from six fish to five in an effort to extend the season as long as possible before hitting the state-imposed quota on black and blue rockfish, the most-caught bottomfish in Oregon.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.