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Two Suspects Charged in December 2007 Elk Poaching Investigation
Sergeant Todd Thompson
Fish & Wildlife Division - Newport
Office: (541) 265-5354 ext. 224

Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
An investigation into a December 2007 elk poaching case in Lincoln County came to an end this weekend when Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division troopers cited two Florence men. At the start of the investigation troopers had sought the public's help but were unable to identify any suspects until an anonymous tip helped break the case.
On December 17, 2007 Oregon State Police fish and Wildlife Troopers from Newport responded to the discovery of a Roosevelt cow elk and calf left to waste near the Cape Perpetua Auto tour road south of Yachats. The investigation revealed three elk had been killed, one had been removed from the area and the cow and calf were left at the scene to waste. OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers believed the elk were killed the morning of December 16th.

In early May 2008 an anonymous tip was received alleging two Florence-area men were suspects in that case. It is unknown if the tip came as a result of published media stories at the start of the investigation.
On May 15, 2008 troopers located the two suspects, KERI JOHNSTON, age 47, and BRET LARGE, age 48, and interviewed them regarding the case. The continuing investigation alleges JOHNSTON fired approximately 13 times into a heard of elk from 350 to 400 yards. After shooting the two men discovered the three dead elk and removed one, leaving the other two behind to waste and partially covering the calf elk with brush in an attempt to conceal it.

Both men were cited to appear in Lincoln County Circuit Court. JOHNSTON was cited and released for two counts of Wasting a Game Mammal to wit: Coast Roosevelt Elk and two counts of Exceeding the Bag Limit on Elk. LARGE was cited and released for two counts of Aiding in A Wildlife Crime to wit: Waste of Coast Roosevelt Elk.
Troopers seized a Remington .270 caliber rifle as evidence.