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Investigation Ends in Lifetime Hunting Suspensions for Two Southern Oregon Men
05/19/2010
Sergeant David Anderson
Fish & Wildlife Division
Office: (503) 934-0338

Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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An Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division investigation that began in 2008 culminated recently in Jackson County Circuit Court with lifetime hunting suspensions for two men.
 
OSP Senior Trooper Jim Collom and Senior Trooper Mike Cushman, both assigned at the OSP Central Point Area Command office, spearheaded the investigation after information was received alleging that TERRY E. CLEARWATER, age 42, from Butte Falls, and BRODY J. GERKE, age 37, from Shady Cove, were working together to use bait and hounds to kill black bear and cougar. Since 1994, it has been against Oregon law to use of bait or dogs to attract or take black bear and to use dogs to take cougar.
 
On March 31, 2009, OSP troopers served a search warrant GERKE's Shady Cove residence where nearly 60 items of evidence were seized. GERKE was eventually charged with 15 counts of wildlife crimes. CLEARWATER was also charged for his involvement with the May 25, 2008 killing of a black bear with the use of dogs.
 
A previous investigation resulted in guilty pleas by CLEARWATER and GERKE in early 2009 to unlawfully using dogs to pursue and kill a cougar in the Shady Cove area. Oregon law mandates that a person's second conviction for the offense of using dogs to pursue and kill a bear or cougar results in a lifetime hunting suspension.
 
GERKE pled guilty to three counts of Hunting Bear/Cougar with Dogs/Bait and one count of Illegal Possession of Wildlife. In addition to the lifetime hunting suspension and forfeiture of items seized from his residence, he was also sentenced to 24 months probation, 80 hours of community service, and $2,001 in fines and restitution.
 
CLEARWATER pled guilty to one count of Hunting Bear with Dogs. In addition to his lifetime hunting suspension, he was also sentenced to 24 months probation, 64 hours of community service, and $1,340 in fines and restitution.
 
Jackson County Deputy District Attorneys Laura Abraham and Adam Peterson prosecuted the cases involving both men and complimented the troopers' work. "These convictions are a direct result of OSP's hard work. Protection of our natural resources has always been important to Oregonians, and we will continue to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law," said Abraham.