COOS BAY, Ore.—A North Bend resident has been cited for poaching three black-tailed bucks near Coos Bay in 2021, according to law enforcement officials.
Macen M. West, 21, of North Bend, was cited on Dec. 5 for Hunting with the aid of artificial light, three counts of Take Game Mammal Closed Season and three counts of Waste of a Game Mammal for poaching three black-tailed bucks and leaving them to waste on North Spit, Coos Bay, on the weekend of March 19, 2021. OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers seized a rifle they believe he used in the crime, according to Sergeant Levi Harris.
Authorities are asking for restitution of $3,000; a three-year minimum suspension of West’s hunting rights and forfeiture of his Savage 93r 17 rifle.
“It was a crime of opportunity,” Sergeant Harris said, “We believe the shooter drove around a corner, saw the deer in the headlights and made a poor, shocking, impromptu decision to hop out and shoot those deer.”
The deer, likely transfixed by the light, would have been easy targets. He would have had time to aim and drop each deer individually. In a normal hunting situation, a single shot at one deer would have startled others into flight. Black-tailed deer hunting season was closed at the time.
All three deer were shot in the head, from relatively close range, according to Sergeant Harris. Because the deer were found so close together, investigators believed early on that the poacher had used a spotlight or vehicle headlights to blind the deer.
There were no footprints or tire tracks leading to the site according to Joseph Metzler of Coos Bay, who discovered the scene the morning of Monday, March 23. That morning, traveling on his ATV, Metzler noticed crows congregating in the area. As he rounded a bend in the road, he came upon the deer carcasses directly in front of him, on the hillside.
“As soon as I came around the corner, there they were, and if it had been dark, they would have been standing right in front of my headlights on the hillside,” he said.
Upon learning the case has been solved, Metzler was happy.
“I was pleased to be able to report it immediately,” Metzler said, “I’m very pleased that OSP was able to continue to pursue this and had success a year later. It goes to show you that if you turn in poachers, it might be a while, but they can find them.”
“We know what’s right and what’s wrong,” Metzler added, “And it’s too bad that his friends didn’t turn him in. They took this hunting resource from everyone in the local hunting community. Each one of those bucks this year would have filled a freezer and made people proud of how we manage deer in Oregon.”
The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among state agencies, sportsmen and other conservationists, landowners, and recreationists to engage the public in combatting Oregon’s poaching problem. Our goal is to: Incentivize reporting on wildlife crimes through the TIP Line; Strengthen enforcement by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers; and Support prosecution in becoming an effective deterrent. The campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information. Yvonne.L.Shaw@odfw.oregon.gov .