An Oregon man and his son, who are believed to have all but eradicated the deer population in a vast portion of state-managed wilderness, will spend the next four deer-hunting seasons in jail and lose their hunting privileges for life.
Shane and Rory Donoho, ages 37 and 60, respectively, pleaded guilty Tuesday to more than 130 poaching-related charges. Each will report to Lane County Jail on Oct. 1 -- the beginning of the 2011 deer-hunting season -- to serve the first of four 90-day sentences.
The pair managed to go undetected for several years in part because they would illegally obtain other hunters' tags and carry them afield, to appear legitimate, in case they were stopped by game wardens, according to the Eugene Register-Guard.
In most cases the bag limit is one deer per tag. Shane Donoho admitted to killing more than 300 deer over a five-year period. He was convicted on 82 counts and ordered to pay $42,000 in restitution to the state. Rory Donoho was convicted on 57 counts and must pay $20,000.
Prosecutor Jay Hall said in court: "Shane Donoho said the poaching goes back as far as he can remember, that he was taught by his father, Rory, who was taught by (Shane’s) grandfather.
Wildlife officials became suspicious when deer, which are abundant in surrounding areas within the McKenzie Wildlife Management District, became almost non-existent in the Gate Creek and Hagen Mountain drainage basins, where the methodical slaughter occurred.
The ex-girlfriend visited the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office and told them she was not a hunter and had never applied for a tag.
Ann Keimig, a DFW technician, traced the phone number on the application to other applications that were ultimately traced to the Donohos.
The Donohos claimed they did not sell meat from poached deer, but kept it for themselves or gave it to friends.
Authorities seized 1,600 pounds of processed or frozen game from the Donohos' property, along with 19 rifles and 106 pairs of deer antlers. This haul, according to the Register-Guard, has a value of between $180,000 and $400,000.