WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - Someone in southwestern Oregon is either an exceptionally terrible shot or intentionally maiming wild deer with arrows.
Either way, state wildlife officials and law enforcement are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever has been responsible for a curious sight in the Oregon wilderness: live deer roaming around with arrows stuck in them.
On Friday (April 27), troopers from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headed to the Shady Cove area, about 295 miles (475km) south of Portland, in response to reports of a deer, still alive, who had an arrow protruding from its body.
Though the deer was reportedly still able to eat and walk around, officials hoped to tranquilise the animal to be able to remove the arrow.
"They were unable to locate the deer," Oregon State Police said in a statement Saturday. "A trooper responded later that evening and found not one, but two deer that had arrows protruding from them. The injuries to the deer did not appear to be life threatening."
Later, officials received reports of a possible third deer with an arrow stuck in it.
Pictures released by police showed one deer, upright and gazing straight ahead, with an arrow shot almost all the way through the base of its neck.
Two other photos - of what appeared to be a second deer - showed an arrow piercing through its face, just below both eyes. The deer in those photos was also upright and appeared to be walking.
The reward was initially US$500 (S$661) through the state's Turn-in-Poachers programme, which pays for information in cases involving "illegal possession, killing, taking, and/or waste" of certain animals in the state, including bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, bears and game birds.
"Poaching wildlife and damaging habitats affects present and future generations of wildlife, impacts communities and the economy, and creates enforcement challenges," police said in a statement.
As of Sunday, the reward had increased to US$2,000, after a local chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association offered an additional US$1,500, the Oregonian reported.
Oregon State Police spokesman Kaito Raiser told the newspaper that they were still on the lookout for the affected deer - and that the arrows they had been stuck with were not the kind used by hunters.
"We've been unable to capture the deer to (tranquilise the animals and) remove the arrows," Raiser told the Oregonian. "You have to get very close to the deer, about 30 yards (27m), for it to be effective, which is difficult for wild deer."