An Eastern Oregon man has been arrested after Oregon State Police found 25 decaying elk carcasses in Wallowa County.
Larry Harshfield, 69, of Wallowa, was arrested after a dozen of the carcasses were found on his property and the rest were found nearby, according to the state police’s Fish and Wildlife Division.
No attempt appeared to have been made to salvage meat, according to law enforcement.
Harshfield’s wife, Pam Harshfield, said in a statement released by their attorney that their ranch was overwhelmed with elk during the harsh winter. Larry Harshfield got up multiple times many nights to haze elk out of hay sheds, only to have them immediately return.
They would see 200 elk in their barn lot and hay sheds, she said.
State officials offered little help and said the Harshfields were told they had to take every step possible before they could get a kill permit, she said. The couple spent thousands of dollars to try to meet those requirements, including purchasing $6,000 of metal panels.
Carcasses did not go to waste, she said.
“Many bald eagles, coyotes and other wildlife have benefited and will continue to benefit from them during the harshest of winters in many years,” she said.
Harshfield was arrested on suspicion of 12 counts of killing elk out of season and 12 counts of wasting elk.
He was arrested April 8 but announced this week by state police, who said an extensive investigation was conducted before a search warrant was issued.
The Wallowa County District Attorney is considering whether charges will be filed for the remaining 13 elk found on adjacent property, according to the state police.