Oregon State Police introduces first and only anti-poaching K-9

MEDFORD, Ore— “Buck actually tracked me to the individuals about a mile and a half away from where I was supposed to be,” Oregon State Police Senior Trooper, Josh Wolcott, said. “I wouldn’t have been able to contact that hunter and interview him and then ultimately cite him.”

Trooper Wolcott is talking about his dog Buck, otherwise known as Oregon’s first and only anti-poaching K-9.

He helps track down people who illegally hunt or capture wild animals.

“Buck is the only conservation K-9 in Oregon.”

Buck is a four-year-old yellow lab. He and Wolcott have been together since Buck started training in 2018.

Wolcott says there wasn’t a lot of training needed though, considering Buck is just using his natural instincts.

“When he’s sniffing out a firearm, he was going to smell that anyway if he’s through the area,” Wolcott said. “We just train him to alert to that firearm or that shell casing.”

Buck can also sniff out the gun powder, human clothes, or trails of evidence that troopers wouldn’t be able to see on their own.

According to OSP, three Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife management units including the Applegate Unit, Rogue Unit, and Evans Creek Unit, had 18 cases of poaching in 2019.

There are at least 65 Wildlife Management Units in the state of Oregon.

“The rural parts where these crimes are being committed are very difficult to search and they’re very difficult to find witnesses,” Wolcott said. “Every bit of extra help we can get is crucial to solving those problems.”

Wolcott says Buck has contributed a tremendous amount of help in solving poaching cases that may have otherwise gone unsolved.

“Canine buck will take our investigations a step further that we can’t already.”

If you’d like to support Buck and the anti-poaching K9 team, you can donate to the Oregon Wildlife Foundation at myowf.org.

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