Two men were arrested April 3 near Biggs Junction for bighorn sheep poaching. Oregon State Police were notified of suspicious activity about 9:45 a.m. near milepost 119 on Interstate 84, with the appearance of a subject gutting an animal on the roadside.
Troopers responded and located Justin Samora, 32, of Layton, Utah. As troopers spoke to Samora, a passing motorist stopped and informed police there was a male hiding in the bushes. Troopers found Cody Plagmann, 28, of Troutdale.
The investigation revealed Plagmann and Samora worked together to shoot and remove the heads of two bighorn sheep. Both sheep were recovered, but were not able to be salvaged, according to police.
Plagmann was arrested for taking possession of a bighorn sheep, wasting a game animal and hunting on another's land. Samora was arrested for aiding in a game violation. Both were lodged in the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles.
"It's an outrage that someone would poach a bighorn sheep, when hunters can wait their whole life and still never get the opportunity to hunt this iconic species," said Jeremy Thompson, district wildlife biologist in The Dalles. This herd is also a popular viewing attraction for people driving along I-84, and has been there since 1993."
Bighorn sheep were extirpated from Oregon in the 1940s because of unregulated hunting. Managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, reintroduction efforts have been largely successful. Hunting, however, is extremely limited with bighorn sheep tags considered "one-in-a-lifetime."
Anyone with information should contact The Dalles Area Command at 541-296-9646.