The last of three Elgin residents charged in a 2016 elk-poaching case was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to three counts.
Nathan Crouch pleaded guilty to two counts of taking wildlife illegally, one count of wasting wildlife and one count of hunting with artificial light in the November 2016 incident. In addition to the jail term, Crouch’s hunting privileges will be suspended for eight years. He will be on probation for three years after serving his jail term.
Two other people, Dylan Crouch (Nathan’s brother) and Brianna Black, pleaded guilty in January to aiding and sharing in the proceeds of a wildlife violation. Their hunting privileges were suspended until May 2020. Both were also sentenced to five days in jail and to 36 months of bench probation.
The case started when two bull elk were found on private property east of Elgin.
The three suspects were named in an Oregon State Police press release. Black was contacted by OSP, and she admitted that she was in the vehicle with the Crouch brothers during the poaching. According to an affidavit, Black said Nathan Crouch jumped out of the vehicle and shot the two bull elk, while Dylan Crouch used a spotlight to freeze the elk since it was before sunrise. Dylan Crouch countered that it was Black who spotlighted the animals, but corroborated that his brother shot the elk.
It’s illegal in Oregon to spotlight an elk or other big game animal. The meat could not be salvaged by the time law enforcement got to the scene, police said.
During OSP’s investigation, it was discovered that Nathan Crouch had also unlawfully taken a large bull elk in Union County a few years prior to the 2016 incident. The antlers from the bull elk were located and seized by troopers.
Nathan Crouch, who had fled to Nevada, according to the affidavit, was eventually arrested in October and jailed.