Facebook helps give Oregon law enforcement rare victory against poaching

Two hunters from Dallas accepted a plea deal and were sentenced Tuesday in an Oregon court for illegally killing a trophy bull elk in a case hailed as a victory for law enforcement in its never-ending war against poaching.

David Bruce Maxfield Jr. and Allen Craige Boal, both 26, engaged in the unlawful take of a 6×6 elk in the Kings Valley area of Benton County in August 2016.

Maxfield used a bow to shoot the elk, then he and Boal took the antlers and left the carcass to rot, according to the Oregonian and Salem Statesman Journal.

Maxfield pled guilty and Boal pled no contest to one count of taking, angling, hunting or trapping in violation of wildlife law classified as a misdemeanor. Boal, at left in above mugshots, had a previous wildlife offense conviction, according to the Oregon State Police.

They were ordered to each pay $7,600 in fines and to perform 40 hours of community service. They were also given 12 months probation and had their hunting privileges suspended for three years.

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Maxfield forfeited the antlers and the bow he used to commit the crime.

It was Maxfield’s action on social media that led to the investigation.

Maxfield posted three photos of the bull elk on the Oregon Big Game Hunting Facebook page. A trooper saw the pictures and ran Maxfield’s name through state fish and wildlife databases and discovered Maxfield did not have the proper tag to kill the bull elk.

The elk antlers seized from poaching investigation. Photo: Courtesy of Oregon State Police

“It was a great catch by our trooper,” Sgt. Kaipo Raiser of the state wildlife enforcement division told the Oregonian, adding “he confessed pretty quickly.”

Oregon law enforcement averages 764 poaching investigations each year, mostly involving elk and deer. But with only 120 troopers dedicated to tracking game violations in the state, the prosecution of violators comes few and far between, which is why this was called a rare victory for the fight against poaching.