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Troopers seek help finding poachers who left an elk to rot

GOLD BEACH — Wildlife investigators are looking for the public's help in finding whoever killed and left to rot a large Roosevelt bull elk from a herd living within the smell of the ocean north of town.

Oregon State Police troopers are looking for two men seen chasing a bull elk after witnesses heard several rifle shots in the vicinity of Edison Creek Road around dusk at about 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22.

Troopers from the OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division in Gold Beach responded, but the men were not found, police said.

The animal, a 7-by-7 point bull, was found dead at about 11 a.m. Feb. 23 on a tract of timber owned by Menasha Corp. about an eighth of a mile from where the shots were fired, OSP Senior Trooper Brad Van Prooyen said.

No meat was taken, and the carcass was not salvageable, Van Prooyen said.

The investigation so far has uncovered only that the men chasing the elk in the woods Feb. 22 were white males, and that an unknown make or model white van was seen in the area at the time of the shooting, Van Prooyen said.

"That's the only thing I have to go on at this point," Van Prooyen said. "It's pretty bleak."

State troopers are looking for anyone who might have information about the case.

People with knowledge about the case can telephone their tips in anonymously through the Turn In Poachers program at 1-800-452-7888.

The TIP program does not require callers to identify themselves, and rewards of up to $1,000 are offered through the program, which is administered in cooperation among the OSP, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association.

Would-be tipsters also can telephone Van Prooyen or Senior Trooper Dan Stinnett at 541-247-6641.

"I hope someone would be willing to step forward and do the right thing," Van Prooyen said. "Everything can be kept anonymous."

The case marks the second elk poached in the past five months from this herd of Roosevelt elk that live largely on private industrial forest lands north of the Rogue River estuary less than two miles from the beach, Van Prooyen said.

Van Prooyen said he has no information on whether the two incidents were linked.

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