Hunter pleads guilty to illegally killing trophy bull elk
The East Oregonian
PORTLAND - A Californian man who illegally killed a trophy bull elk near La Grande will have to pay $50,000, serve three years probation and can never hunt in Oregon again.
Ronald Ray Jurin, of Redding, Calif., pleaded guilty to a federal felony wildlife charge Monday before U.S. District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty. According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the 37-year-old hunter admitted on Sept. 23, 2006, he illegally killed a branch-antlered elk in the Wenaha Unit in Eastern Oregon and then transported the elk to his home.
Agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division investigated the case, which was federal because Jurin transported the elk across state lines. Agents seized the rack and remains of the elk, along with the compound bow Jurin used to kill the animal.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Jurin didn't have proper hunting tags to hunt and kill the elk in the Wenaha Hunt Unit, one of the most sought-after trophy bull elk hunting areas in Oregon. Less than 1 percent of applicants receive a tag to hunt in the unit. Hunters wait as long as 13 years to earn enough points to draw a tag to hunt for bull elk in unit, or they can participate in an auction for a tag, which can cost up to $25,000. In 2006, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife auctioned only five tags statewide, and only two were in the Wenaha Unit.
Federal prosecutors also said Jurin admitted to other hunting crimes in 2006, including killing three bears before the season began.
Jurin entered a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office that calls for him to pay a $50,000 penalty, serve three years federal probation and agree to a lifetime ban on hunting and fishing in Oregon. The ban also will apply in 25 other states. The U.S. District Court in Portland has scheduled formal sentencing for Nov. 18.
Jurin also will have to pay $4,700 in restitution to the state of Oregon for illegally killing wildlife. The agreement also requires Jurin to publish a public apology in Eastern Oregon newspapers and "Oregon Hunter," the bi-monthly magazine of the Oregon Hunters Association.
This isn't the first time Jurin has broken hunting laws in Oregon, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. In 2001, Jurin was convicted of killing two buck deer during the closed season in Lake County. He killed the deer at night with the aid of an artificial light.