On December 6, 2019 Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Troopers received information from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife regarding a disturbing video shared via social media. The video displayed what appeared to be a young adult male climbing onto, and eventually riding on the back of a live and exhausted mule deer buck while it was contained within a fenced enclosure. Throughout the video, the mule deer buck can be heard grunting and/or bleating and after escaping the rider, the buck jumped into a linked fence, multiple times, attempting to escape the enclosure.
After reviewing the video, OSP Fish & Wildlife Troopers conducted further investigation and identified two suspects from Riley, OR. The primary suspect, identified as Jacob Belcher (18) from Riley, OR., was located on a rural ranch in Harney County where he was interviewed by Troopers. The investigation and interviews revealed that the buck mule deer had entrapped itself within a fenced feeding enclosure, before being ridden by Belcher. The buck was eventually freed and its status at this time is unknown.
Following interviews, Belcher was arrested and lodged at the Harney County Jail on charges of Wildlife Harassment and Animal Abuse II. Another suspect, who was responsible for filming the incident, was identified and interviewed as well. Charges of Aiding in a Wildlife Offense will be referred to the Harney County District Attorney’s Office.