On October 31, 2015 the Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish and Wildlife Division (La Grande) received a report of suspicious activity involving two bull elk killed in the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit near the town of Starkey. A reporting party observed the elk being shot and killed in the early morning hours by hunters. Several hours after the elk had been killed, it did not appear the hunters were attempting to salvage the meat from the elk.
Additional personnel from OSP and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to assist in the investigation. The hunters, Darren NAILLON, age 43, and a 15 year old juvenile (both of St Helens) were contacted at approximately 11:00pm that night walking back to their camp. It was determined that the hunters had been waiting, in the rain, since approximately 2:30pm that afternoon for Troopers to leave the area. The hunters had killed two branch antler bulls and only one of the hunters had a tag that would allow them to take a branch antler bull. The hunters did not have any meat from the elk with them at the time of the contact and advised Troopers that both elk had been boned out and the meat was with their packs (left behind in the forest).
Early the next morning, Troopers located both bulls and the hunter’s packs loaded with what seemed to be a small amount of meat for two bull elk. Troopers found that both bulls (one five point and one six point) had only the prime cuts of meat removed (back-strap and hindquarters). The animals had not been field dressed and the hides had only been partially removed. Troopers estimated that half the meat on both animals had been wasted. It was also noted that the hunters took the largest of the two elk’s antlers.
The hunter’s rifles, packs, salvaged meat, and both sets of antlers were seized.
In March of 2016, Darren NAILLON plead guilty to Aiding in a Game Violation and Waste of a Game Animal. He was sentenced the following:
3 years hunting suspension.
3 years bench probation.
30 hours community service.
$16,588 fines and restitution.
All evidence forfeited, to include: 2 custom rifles, a backpack and both sets of antlers.
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