In Oregon, it is considered unlawful taking of wildlife when a hunter takes any wildlife that is the property of that State without first obtaining a specified license and tag (if appropriate) or takes that specified animal during a time other than the specified season. At first, you might think well, that’s easy; purchase your license and your tag and you are good to go. However, many hunters have unknowingly committed this violation at some point in their hunting career.
One common violation of this rule: unlawful taking of wildlife in the wrong unit. Without carrying technology such as a GPS in your pack, it is easy to get turned-around in the middle of a hunt. However, if you mistakenly wonder into a surrounding unit without having a tag for that particular unit and you are successful in your hunt, you could be violation unlawful taking of wildlife.
Another common violation of this rule includes the attempt to take a wildlife decoy that is under the control and operation of law enforcement. Wildlife Enforcement Decoy (WED) program was established in 1991 and the program has expanded to involve more wildlife species and genders. The primary goal of the WED program is for wildlife troopers and violators to be in the same place at the same time, thus giving the ability to catch a violator, without the loss of wildlife. The “animal” decoys include turkey, mule deer, blacktail deer, whitetail deer, Roosevelt Elk, and Rocky Mountain Elk. Under ORS 496.996:
(1) A person commits the crime of unlawful taking of wildlife if:
(a) The person discharges a firearm or other hunting device, traps, or acts toward a wildlife decoy in any manner consistent with an unlawful taking of wildlife; and
(b) The wildlife decoy is under the control of law enforcement officials.
(2) As used in this section, wildlife decoy means any simulation or replication of wildlife, in whole or in part, used by law enforcement officials for purposes of enforcing state wildlife laws.
If you find yourself having been charged with unlawful taking of wildlife after mistakenly shooting “Scruffy” the decoy or having wondered into the wrong unit and successfully taking an animal, contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.