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OR: Californian admits to illegal hunting in Oregon

Plea deal includes lifelong hunting ban in 26 states
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
MICHAEL MILSTEIN, The Oregonian Staff

A Californian pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges resulting from a wildlife shooting series in 2006 in which he killed a trophy bull elk in eastern Oregon without a permit.

He also admitted that he illegally baited and hunted three bears before the season, killed a cow elk and then falsified a tag for it, and spotlighted and killed a white-tailed deer with a crossbow.

Ronald Ray Jurin, 37, of Redding, Calif., appeared before U.S. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty in Portland. He accepted a plea agreement with three years' probation, an unusually high $50,000 penalty, an additional $4,700 compensation to Oregon, and a lifelong ban from hunting and fishing in Oregon, California, Washington and 23 other states.

He must appear again in court Dec. 18 for the judge to decide whether to accept the plea agreement.

The Wenaha unit near La Grande, known for its large bull elk, is one of the most prized hunting areas in the state. Legal hunters must accumulate points to draw a permit for the unit or buy one of a few statewide permits auctioned at prices up to $25,000.

"Our view of this is law-abiding hunters wait 13 years to get a tag in this unit, and he knew it and went out there anyway," said Dwight Holton, assistant U.S. attorney in Portland.

Jurin pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Lacey Act, which prohibits the interstate transport of illegally killed wildlife. Federal agents seized the 14-point rack, nearly four feet across, and the remains of the elk from his home in California as well as the Compound Boy he used to kill it.

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