Man Accused of Poaching Trophy Bull Elk, Plus 12 Other Deer and Elk in Oregon


A Pendleton, Ore., man has been indicted for unlawfully killing 13 elk and deer, one of them a trophy bull elk, in Umatilla County across the state line from the Tri-Cities.

Walker Dean Erickson, 28, has been indicted on 22 counts, with other allegations including wasting game meat, trespassing, tampering with evidence and hunting from a vehicle.

In a related case, Hunter Paul Wagner, 23, of Pilot Rock, Ore., has been indicted on charges of assisting in the illegal shooting of game.

Oregon State Police began to gather evidence in 2020 after receiving reports of poaching.

That led to a search warrant being served at a Pendleton home about a year ago. Among items seized were three sets of elk antlers, one of them from the trophy animal. Also seized were six sets of deer antlers, a rifle, a bow and meat.

Erickson is accused of first illegally shooting two cow elk and three white tail bucks over about two weeks from Dec. 13 to Jan. 3, 2021.

Another alleged illegal hunting spree without valid tags was in August and September of 2021, including the shooting of a trophy-size bull elk with seven antler points on each side of its head on Sept. 30.

Indictments linked to the start of the two months include wasting meat from a deer and an elk on Aug. 4.

Two days later Erickson was accused of shooting a young bull elk with its antlers still in velvet.

On Sept. 13 he shot a white tail mule deer buck with 5x4 point antlers and then a 2x2 point buck a week later, according to court documents.

Bull elk that he shot that month included one with 5x6 antlers Sept. 19 and then the large trophy elk at the end of the month, according to court documents.

He also is accused of wasting the meat from the trophy elk and shooting the animal while criminally trespassing on private land.

According to court documents, the land was either farmed or fenced and he did not have permission to hunt there.

In December 2021 he attempted to conceal a digital image of the 7x7 and 4x4 bull elks, according to court documents.

The three final counts of the indictment are related to shooting a 2x3 and a 4x4 mule deer buck in late 2021. He is accused of hunting during that time from a vehicle.

Wagner was indicted on assisting with the illegal shooting of three cow elk, three whitetail bucks and a 4x4 bull elk, with most of the alleged offenses between mid December 2020 to early January 2021 in Umatilla County.

Two of the seven indictments were related to a cow and a bull elk shot in August 2021.

Umatilla County court records also show that he was convicted early this year on a charge of illegal fishing.