WAMIC - Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division troopers cited a Tygh Valley man on misdemeanor charges after the man used his pickup to ram and damage a Wildlife Enforcement Decoy deer in Wasco County.
According to OSP Senior Trooper Swede Pearson, OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers were conducting two decoy operations Dec. 7 in the Rock Creek/Wamic area of south Wasco County. The operation was in response to a recent unlawful killing of large winter range buck deer in the area.
Numerous past incidents involved people killing large buck deer and removing only their heads or antlers, leaving the carcasses to waste.
About 6 p.m. a Ford pickup approached one of the decoys along a U.S. Forest Service Road. The decoy was about 30 feet off the roadway in a clearing surrounded by some trees. The pickup drove off the roadway, through a ditch, continued on and rammed the decoy, knocking it backwards about 12 feet. The impact knocked off the decoy's antlers and broke two legs.
OSP troopers stopped the pickup and contacted its driver, Brian LaFaver, 34, of Tygh Valley. Police said he was apparently in the area to find a Christmas tree and was accompanied by his wife and two small children. He told troopers he didn't intend to run over the deer and only wanted to get close enough to show it to his kids.
LaFaver was cited to appear into Wasco County Circuit Court on two misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking deer (WED) during closed season and second-degree criminal mischief. He was also cited for driving without a valid operator's license.
OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are also asking for the public's help for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for the recent unlawful killing of the large winter range buck deer. A reward of up to $500 is offered.
Anyone with information regarding that case can call the Turn in Poacher line at 1-800-452-7888.
Established in 1991, the WED program's primary goal 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 program has expanded to involve more wildlife species and genders. The "animal" decoys include turkey, mule deer, blacktail deer, whitetail deer, Roosevelt elk, and Rocky Mountain elk.