A mule deer head led to poaching charges for five people from Eastern Oregon, state police reported.

An Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife trooper on Sunday at 6:07 p.m. came across a Jeep Cherokee with the driver's door ajar at the intersection of Speare Canyon and Mud Springs roads about 9 miles southwest of Pendleton near the Umatilla River. The trooper saw an empty gun case and ammunition inside the vehicle, according to a written statement from state police.

About two-and-half hours later, another Jeep Cherokee arrived at the intersection with five occupants inside. “The trooper observed the occupants were in possession of the head of a freshly killed mature buck mule deer,” state police reported. The trooper seized the deer head and a rifle.

Vance Tyler Wright, 21, of Canyon City, shot the deer, state police reported. The trooper cited him for unlawful taking/possession of game mammal out of season, unlawful taking/possession of a buck deer and waste of a game mammal. State police reported he shot the deer.

The trooper also cited four Pendleton residents for unlawful taking/possession of a buck deer: Kennan Carl Aden Wright, 21; Brandon Michael McConnell, 20; Forest Hunter Johnson, 19; and Whitney Ann Anderson, 19.

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