ADRIAN — A 45-year-old Adrian man was cited last week for unlawfully taking possession of big game, to wit cougar.
According to Oregon State Police Lt. Mark Duncan, Carl Morton was cited for illegally taking two cougars, which were on a public road area. The animals were not taken as an act of depredation on his personal property.
According to a narrative summary from OSP desk logs, a Fish and Wildlife Trooper received information that the cougars had been illegally taken, with the reporting party providing photographs and names of the suspects involved.
The trooper’s investigation revealed that Morton “ran the two cougars over with his vehicle in the early morning hours,” and that he and a juvenile “took possession” of the big game.
The summary states that they then purchased 2019 hunting licenses and cougar tags.
“They placed the tags on the cougars for another date and checked them into ODFW for the mandatory check-in,” reads the summary. “The cougars were then taken to a local taxidermist for processing.”
The cat’s pelts, skulls and tags have been seized as evidence, according to the summary.
Duncan said, it will be up to the court to impose any fines, license suspensions or revocations or jail time, and the case will likely end up going through Malheur County Justice Court, which handles a lot of the hunting crimes.
Morton will have to appear and make a plea before the matter proceeds, and Duncan estimated that it could take anywhere from four weeks to a few months before it is completely wrapped up.
As for how common it is to hear about wildlife being taken by vehicle, it’s not.
“We don’t get a whole lot of vehicle involved incidents,” Duncan said, adding that’s why they never say “never” or “always.”