Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator
The Oregon House of Representatives passed HB 3035, an anti-poaching bill championed by Oregon’s Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council member Representative Brad Witt and Caucus member Representative Ken Helm.
This bill was also sponsored by Caucus Co-Chair Representative Sherrie Sprenger and several other Caucus members.
HB 3035 would impose higher penalties against poachers for the knowing, willful, or reckless taking of wildlife with the intent to sell or profit. This includes if the poaching occurs repeatedly, or if the animal is a moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, wolf, or a threatened or endangered species (including fish).
Poaching of the state’s beloved wildlife has become a pervasive issue in Oregon, yet repeat offenders continue to endure only minimal
penalties or repercussions. To demonstrate the need for anti-poaching penalties, HB 3035 sponsor and Caucus member Representative Gary Leif shared an example in which a father and two sons pleaded guilty to 12 charges of poaching at least three trophy black-tail deer and a cow elk, along with deer. An Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division investigation and subsequent conviction led to the three men only facing a few thousand dollars in fines and unsupervised court probation.
The passage of HB 3035 follows the directed efforts of the Caucus’s support for this bill. The Caucus declared a “Hunter Orange Alert,” on its signature blaze orange paper, which was issued to each member on the floor, notifying fellow legislators of the stance. Despite overwhelming passage by the House, HB 3035 did face some opposition. In response to opposition, Rep. Sprenger reiterated, “This bill is not about someone trying to feed their family. This bill is about an organized effort against the illegal taking of our game animals.”
HB 3035 advanced through the House of Representatives by a 58-2 vote and is currently awaiting its first hearing by the Senate.
Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Witt and Sprenger.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (10.87%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (13.35%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (62.73%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.04%)