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OR: NE Oregon man charged with wolf trapping, killing

Elgin man also cited for using unbranded traps

By: KTVZ.COM news sources

ELGIN, Ore. – An Elgin man has been arraigned on charges he illegally trapped and killed a wolf last month, Oregon State Police said Wednesday.

On Dec. 18, an OSP Fish & Wildlife trooper was inspecting a trap line near Elgin when he located a deceased wolf adjacent to one of the foothold traps. Upon inspection, it was determined that the wolf had more than likely been shot after having been caught in the foothold trap, OSP Captain Bill Fugate said in a news release.

The trooper initiated an investigation, including an X-ray examination and necropsy of the wolf, which revealed a small-caliber bullet retrieved from the wolf’s spinal column.

Through the investigation, a suspect was developed, Fugate said, and following an interview, the individual admitted to killing the wolf after finding it caught in one of his traps. The investigation also determined that the trapper was utilizing traps that were not branded or marked with the trapper’s information, as required by law.

Following the investigation, David M. Sanders, 58, of Elgin, was cited to appear in court on misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking of wildlife ( a special status game animal), and a second unlawful taking charge for using unbranded traps, Fugate said. He was arraigned Jan. 23 in Union County Circuit Court,

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted with the identification of the wolf and also collected DNA samples for further testing. According to ODFW, the wolf killed was a 63.5 pound juvenile female born in April of last year, Fugate said.

Based on its location, ODFW believes it was the offspring of a new pair of wolves that bred this year in the Mt. Emily Wildlife Management Unit, but the agency is awaiting DNA results to confirm this. More information about this new pack will be available in March, when ODFW releases its annual wolf report.

ODFW reminds all trappers to immediately contact OSP or their nearest ODFW field office if they find a wolf caught in a trap. Four wolves are known to have been inadvertently caught by licensed trappers since wolves began returning to Oregon in the late 2000s, but in all these known cases, the trapper contacted ODFW. Wildlife biologists were able to respond and then collar and safely release the wolf from the trap.