Oregon authorities solve bizarre pronghorn poaching case.
Chalk up another weird story for 2020. A suspected poacher in Oregon is facing multiple charges in a bizarre pronghorn antelope poaching case where the man allegedly mowed down six animals at once with his pickup truck.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported the incident originally took place back on April 26, but the arrest of 48-year-old Michael Scott Phillips, a Christmas Valley resident, did not happen until wildlife officials served a warrant on Phillips’ home on May 21 when they found the buck’s horns.
The strangest part of this case is the poacher’s reason for running down five does and one buck. The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife division says the poacher claims Phillips said he “did it because he hates pronghorns.”
This poaching incident happened in Lake County. Authorities say Phillips later admitted he saw the pronghorns bunched in the road and intentionally accelerated his vehicle to hit them. The poacher allegedly hit 60 mph before striking the group of animals. Phillips then allegedly left to go get a hamburger before returning later to cut the horns off the buck. Authorities included photos of the crime scene with their press release that appear to show skid marks and the dead animals.
In an even more bizarre twist, one of the does was pregnant and the near full-term fawn was cut out of the animal and placed on top of the mother’s carcass. The press release did not state whether authorities believed Phillips was also responsible for cutting out the fawn. Sadly, this is not the first time authorities in Oregon have seen vehicles used in wildlife crime.
“Not all poaching involves the use of a firearm,” Sgt. Lowell Lea said in an OSPFWD press release. “This is not the first case of people poaching with a vehicle. And poaching takes opportunities away from hunters and others.”
According to the release, Phillips is still in Lake County jail for the crime and is being hit with multiple charges for waste, illegal take of antelope, and aggravated animal abuse.
Authorities may have been hard-pressed for leads had a tip in the case not come in through the ODFW Stop Poaching Tip Line. Fortunately, the caller claimed to have heard Phillips bragging about the strange crime.
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