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OSP Fish & Wildlife Division's Southeast Team Named "2011 Team of the Year"
05/04/2012
Captain Jeff Samuels
Fish & Wildlife Division
(503) 934-0221

Photograph link valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police (Back Row:  Senior Trooper Randy Caldwell, Senior Trooper Jason McNeil, Trooper Andrew McClay, and Senior Trooper Brad Duncan.  Front Row:  Patrol Sergeant Bob Wilson (formerly Fish and Wildlife Division Senior Trooper in Ontario), Sergeant Isaac Cyr, and Trooper Anthony Spencer.)
 
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2012-05/1002/54072/2011_OSP_FWD_Team_of_the_Year.jpg
 
The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division recognized the impressive work of troopers from the Southeast Oregon Team when Captain Jeff Samuels announced Tuesday they were the recipients of the Division's Team of the Year award for 2011 during a presentation at the Baker City office.  This is the sixth presentation of the award since the Division implemented a new program celebrating and recognizing the outstanding teamwork by our troopers in protecting Oregon's natural resources.
 
Supervised by Sergeant Isaac Cyr, the seven-member Southeast Oregon Team is comprised of one sergeant and six troopers assigned to OSP offices in Baker City, Ontario, and Burns.  The Southeast Oregon Team is challenged by diverse natural resource enforcement issues, as well as general law issues, in an extremely remote area of the state.  This team patrols an area consisting of over 23,000 square miles, nearly a quarter of the state of Oregon and larger than the combined states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.  Harney County, the largest county in Oregon at 10,133 square miles, is patrolled solely by one fish & wildlife trooper.
 
In 2011, Southeast Oregon Team members distinguished themselves by their exceptional performance conducting complex criminal fish and wildlife cases. Dedicated to their public service through outstanding teamwork, the team's members possess a great depth of knowledge and specialized skills for working in the backcountry, from accomplished whitewater raft and jet boat operators to experienced horsemen.
 
 "I am very impressed at their level of teamwork, service to the public, and protection of natural resources," said Samuels.  "The team has such a vast and unique area that they patrol and protect, and they successfully do so with such few people."
 
Ranging from 2 to 16 years of OSP service, the following OSP Fish and Wildlife Southeast Oregon Team has a total of 70 years of OSP law enforcement experience:
 
* Sergeant Isaac Cyr, Supervisor, Baker City
* Senior Trooper Brad Duncan, Baker City
* Senior Trooper Jason McNeil, Baker City
* Patrol Sergeant Bob Wilson, Ontario (formerly Fish and Wildlife Senior Trooper in Ontario)
* Trooper Anthony Spencer, Ontario
* Senior Trooper Randy Caldwell, Burns
* Trooper Andrew McClay, John Day (formerly Burns and team member for much of 2011)

 
The Southeast Oregon Team faces critical issues in their patrol area, including anadromous and sensitive fish species in the Snake River (ESA-listed Chinook salmon and steelhead and ESA-listed native bull trout), Lahontan cutthroat trout protection in Malheur and Harney County streams, compliance concerns dealing with limited entry big game seasons, border issues with Idaho and Nevada residents hunting in Oregon, protection of Bighorn Sheep, Antelope and Rocky Mountain Goat populations, Native American off-reservation hunting and fishing issues, and a multitude of rural law enforcement challenges. The Steens Mountain Unit has been identified as a Mule Deer Initiative area that receives additional enforcement protection through an action plan authored by Senior Trooper Randy Caldwell.
 
This team also addresses Marine Board issues in local lakes and rivers and provides enforcement of scenic waterway laws and regulations on the Owyhee and Snake Rivers.  The Snake River has the largest navigable rapids in the state requiring troopers to consistently operating jet boats, rafts, and kayaks through these treacherous waters.  The Owyhee River is also extremely remote and challenging, and, in 2011, Senior Trooper Duncan authored an action plan to address non-motorized vessel use and river permit compliance, angling regulation enforcement, and archeological resource protection.
 
During 2011, the Southeast Oregon Team had several notable cases relating to both natural resource and general law.  A few of the year's highlights involving the Southeast Oregon Team were:
 
* Senior Trooper Duncan, assisted by Senior Trooper McNeil, contacted subjects near Austin Junction within the Sumpter Unit who had recently treed and killed a cougar using dogs. One subject was cited and released for Taking Cougar Prohibited Method--Use of Dogs and Hunting without a Valid License. Another subject was cited and released for Aiding in a Wildlife Violation I Taking Cougar Prohibited Method--Use of Dogs.
 
* Senior Troopers McNeil and Duncan also investigated a hunting complaint that occurred during the last weekend of archery season. The investigation revealed that a Baker City man killed a large six point bull elk without an elk tag while bow hunting for deer. After killing the bull, he called a friend with an elk tag to assist in covering his crime and in transporting the elk. The meat was then distributed between three residences, and the trophy rack was hidden at the second accomplices' house. While interviewing one of the suspects at his residence about the elk case, McNeil noticed some striking similarities in how a whitetail buck was field dressed in the suspect's garage (a rifle season harvest) and a mule deer buck that had been dressed, wasted, and dumped outside of town two weeks prior that he was investigating.  During the course of the interview regarding the elk incident and the separate deer incident, McNeil determined the suspect dumped the deer after it spoiled. Citations for Taking Bull Elk without a Valid Tag, Borrowing a Big Game Tag, Loaning a Big Game Tag, Waste of Wildlife, Placing Offensive Substances on Highway and Aiding in Wildlife Offense were issued.
 
* Prior to the opening of turkey season, Senior Trooper Caldwell located some corn that he believed was being placed to bait turkeys. He borrowed a trail camera from ODFW and placed it near the bait site, obtaining photos of the suspect and his vehicle while the suspect was putting corn out two days prior to the season. On opening day of turkey season, Trooper McClay and Caldwell worked the area but the suspect did not arrive.  On Saturday, Caldwell worked the baited area again and contacted the suspect as he was hunting turkey. The suspect placing any corn but changed his story after Caldwell informed him of the trail camera photos. The suspect was cited for Hunting Turkey Prohibited Method- Bait.
 
* Trooper Spencer and Sergeant Cyr were patrolling the Owyhee Reservoir when they observed a boat moving upriver with the registration numbers taped over. This was the same boat OSP and BLM had reports on operating in the wild and scenic section of the Owyhee River that is closed to motorboats, and a BLM Ranger cited the owner last year for the same violation.  They could not overtake the boat, but waited at the motorized deadline for over three hours and as it returned the videotaped it operating in the closed area. The owner advised that the citations were worth it and he would continue to operate his boat in the area. He also said he saw the OSP boat and did not believe the troopers would catch him because he thought they did not have enough fuel to remain in the area. The operator, who was the owner's son, was cited for Operating a Motorboat in a Prohibited Area, and the owner was cited for Fail to Properly Display Registration Numbers.
 
* During another boat patrol by Senior Trooper Duncan and Trooper McClay on the Owyhee River they saw a 27-foot jet boat operating well above the motorized deadline in the wild & scenic section near Jackson Hole.  The operator claimed he did not see the signs and told the troopers he was heading for Rome.  He was cited for Operating a Motorized Vessel in a Prohibited Area--Wild and Scenic River.  Thirteen other citations were issued during that patrol for No Aquatic Invasive Species Permit.
 
* Senior Trooper Duncan and Trooper Spencer contacted a group of rafters on the Owyhee River during a raft patrol and came upon two elderly women knocked out of their raft. One woman was in shock and both suffered from mild hypothermia. The troopers rendered first aid and camped with the group of rafters for the night at the Hike-Out Camp in case any further assistance or medical treatment was needed. The women decided they did not want to raft any further and hiked out of the canyon with the troopers the following morning so they could meet a shuttle.  The troopers then hiked back into the canyon and resumed their patrol.
 
To learn more about the OSP Fish and Wildlife Division, including a link to monthly newsletters highlighting the work of your OSP Fish and Wildlife troopers, go to our website at:
http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/FW/index.shtml.
 
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