VALE, Ore. — A Vale man caught during a traffic stop has been convicted for poaching a trophy-sized mule deer in eastern Oregon last year.
Garrett Harris, 22, of Vale, pled guilty on Oct. 31 to criminal unlawful take of a buck deer and waste of a game mammal after poaching the 5X5 mule deer buck in the Beulah unit of eastern Oregon in November 2019. Harris became a suspect in the case earlier this year when someone called the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line to report that Harris had shot a mule deer while the season was closed in 2019. OSP troopers tried to contact Harris after the initial report but were unable to locate him.
On June 16, 2020, OSP Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Erich Timko, returning from a Magone Lake patrol, stopped a black Jeep Cherokee on US 26 for several traffic violations. Harris was driving. When Sgt. Timko realized he had apprehended the wildlife crime suspect, he asked Harris about his hunting exploits. Harris eventually confessed to shooting the mule deer.
According to Sergeant Timko, Harris shot the buck with his bow in the Beulah unit on Nov. 21, 2019. The wounded buck crossed onto adjacent property for which Harris did not have permission to enter. Harris left the deer to die. When he returned the following day to retrieve the deer, coyotes had gotten to it. He removed the head and left the remainder of the animal to waste. Then he hid the head on a family member’s property.
OSP troopers retrieved the head from the relative’s property and charged Harris with multiple wildlife crimes. He appeared in Malheur County Court on Oct. 31 and pled guilty to criminal Unlawful Take of Buck Deer and Waste of Game Mammal.
To make the punishment fit the