Someone in southwestern Oregon is either an exceptionally terrible shot or intentionally maiming wild deer with arrows.
Either way, state wildlife officials and law enforcement are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever has been responsible for a curious sight in the Oregon wilderness: live deer roaming around with arrows stuck in them.
On Friday, troopers from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headed to the Shady Cove area, about 295 miles south of Portland, in response to reports of a deer, still alive, that had an arrow protruding from its body.
Though the deer was reportedly still able to eat and walk around, officials hoped to tranquilize the animal to be able to remove the arrow.
“They were unable to locate the deer,” Oregon State Police said in a statement Saturday. “A trooper responded later that evening and found not one, but two deer that had arrows protruding from them. The injuries to the deer did not appear to be life threatening.”
Later, officials received reports of a possible third deer with an arrow stuck in it.
Pictures released by police showed one deer, upright and gazing straight ahead, with an arrow shot almost all the way through the base of its neck.
Two other photos — of what appeared to be a second deer — showed an arrow piercing through its face, just below both eyes. The deer in those photos was also upright and appeared to be walking.
The reward was initially $500 through the state’s Turn in Poachers program, which pays for information in cases involving “illegal possession, killing, taking, and/or waste” of certain animals in the state, including bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, bears and game birds.
“Poaching wildlife and damaging habitats affects present and future generations of wildlife, impacts communities and the economy, and creates enforcement challenges,” police said in a statement.
As of Sunday, the reward had increased to $2,000, after a local chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association offered an additional $1,500, the Oregonian reported.
Oregon State Police spokesman Kaipo Raiser told The Washington Post Monday that they were still on the lookout for the affected deer — and that the arrows they had been stuck with were not the kind used by hunters.
“Our belief is it is malicious in nature. Any legitimate hunter would never target an animal using those arrows,” Raiser said, adding that it is also currently far outside deer hunting season. “At this point, we have been unable to capture or tranquilize the deer because the tranquilizer gun… [must be used within] about 30 yards in range for the tranquilizer dart to be effective, which is fairly difficult with wild game.”
Anyone with any information in the case is asked to call Oregon Turn in Poachers at 1-800-452-7888 or Oregon State Police dispatch at 541-776-6111. Callers can remain anonymous, officials said.