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Eagle Point man pleads not guilty to poaching

A 38-year-old Eagle Point man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to six misdemeanor wildlife charges alleging he went on a deer-poaching spree with his teenage son this winter, illegally killing several large black-tailed bucks in the Cascade foothills.

Charles Douglas Cochran was arrested Monday when he returned to his home on Clear View Way while police were there with a search warrant. Oregon State Police say they seized 21 sets of blacktail antlers, four rifles and a bow.

Also seized from the residence were pelts from 10 bobcats, foxes and other fur-bearers, which investigators believe were poached, along with frozen and unprocessed game meat — some of it not yet butchered and wrapped, police said.

Investigators believe Cochran and his 16-year-old son killed at least six blacktails with trophy-sized antlers since the start of the fall hunting season, OSP Sgt. Kirk Meyer said.

"One of them was taken on Sunday," Meyer said.

Most of the animals were killed in the Lake Creek and Salt Creek drainages off Highway 140, areas known to be important wintering range for the region's migratory blacktails, Meyer said.

The case began three weeks ago following a tip from a neighbor, Meyer said.

After spending Monday night jailed on $72,000 bail, Cochran made his initial appearance Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of deer parts and single counts of exceeding the bag limit on deer, taking a deer during a closed season, having no written record of transfer of deer parts, and unlawful possession of furs, court records show.

Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia set Cochran's bail at $24,000 and ordered that he not fish or hunt until the case against him is resolved, court records show.

His son faces related charges in Jackson County Juvenile Justice Department, the OSP said.

The seized meat will be kept as evidence until the case is resolved, Meyer said. If the meat ends up being forfeited after the trial, it likely will be donated to an animal-rehabilitation center as food for carnivores, Meyer said.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.