SALEM, Ore. — A decapitated black bear joins a growing list of animals from a frenzy of poaching in Lane County in recent weeks. The crimes appear to be random and opportunistic, and officials are looking for leads in multiple cases.

Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Josh Wolcott, who works with the state’s only conservation K9, a yellow lab named Buck, is traveling Lane County investigating wildlife crime scenes and searching for evidence.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen. Things are happening all over Lane County right now,” Wolcott said. “Every day is a new report.”

Reports include the bear and multiple deer and elk so far. Wolcott takes Buck to poaching sites where the dog detects shell casings, gunpowder residue and human scent; all of which can lead to a forensic bonanza. Tangible evidence helps, but even better would be a suspect’s name or a vehicle description. Contact the ODFW at dfw.state.or.us/. 

Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw said “poaching is someone’s instant gratification that creates an ongoing loss of natural resources for the rest of us in Oregon.”