Poacher Goes To Jail, Tipster Gets Paid

Elgin, Ore. — Elgin resident Cody Murrill has been sentenced to ten days in jail, fines, probation, weapon forfeiture, and license suspension for poaching a branch bull elk in the Wenaha unit last fall. According to authorities, Murrill appeared in Union County Circuit Court on Jan. 20, 2023, and pleaded guilty to poaching charges. He admitted to mistakenly shooting the bull while intending to poach a cow elk for the meat. Murrill left the animal to waste after the shooting.

The case came to light when hunters discovered the carcass on Oct. 3 and notified OSP Fish & Wildlife Troopers. The investigation identified Murrill’s truck after reviewing area game cameras, and he was interviewed at his home. Initially denying having anything to do with the incident, Murrill later contacted OSP F&W Troopers to confess to the crimes.

Murrill intended to recover the meat and antlers later that night, but the carcass was partially scavenged when he returned. After breaking his saw on his second return, he left the carcass to waste, which is also a crime. In addition to jail time and a one-year license suspension, Murrill received one-year probation and forfeited his .308 rifle with scope, valued at around $1,400, and paid $440 in fines.

According to Union County District Attorney Kelsie McDaniel, the jail time and suspension are part of the sentence, while Sgt. Chris Hawkins, who collected evidence in the case and confiscated the rifle for ballistics testing, believes the jail time was appropriate. He cited shortages of jail space and resources for prosecuting wildlife crimes. The person who reported the incident received four hunter preference points, which will allow them a better chance of drawing an opportunity to hunt in the future.

The Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line incentive program is successful, according to Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) President Steve Hagan. The method of reward has proven to be effective in gathering evidence. The incident happened on opening day of deer season, with bull elk season in the area yet to come. According to ODFW Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw, poachers steal from all Oregonians, whether legitimate hunters who paid fees to hunt, or hikers or photographers who missed the experience of seeing that animal.