WILDLIFE COPS -- Patrolling for illegal snowmobilers in caribou country, tracking down the source of sick farm-raised Idaho elk dumped in Washington, dealing with moose in yards and haystacks -- all in a week's work for Washington Fish and Wildlife Department enforcement officers on the far East Side of the state.
Read on for highlights.
- -- Officers found no snowmobilers violating the motorized-vehicle closure in the grizzly/caribou/grey wolf recovery zone in Pend Oreille County, although violations has been reported previously.
- Citations were issued to a man who used a spotlight to illegally kill a bull elk and leave it to waste in south Spokane County; several other elk poaching cases were investigated near Newman Lake.
- Officers followed up on the game farmed elk carcass found last week near Newman Lake and discovered that the game farm had sold two cow elk to a Washingtonian. In the spirit of holiday generosity, they apparently had thrown in a “sick” elk for free. The new owner decided that the “sick” animal, described as skin and bones with a diarrhea problem, was not worth salvaging and dumped it whole. The animals had been killed in Idaho and then transported to Washington for processing. WDFW officers contacted all parties for a discussion regarding the introduction of pathogens -- such as chronic wasting disease -- and dumping/littering issues.
- Problems with elk and moose damaging haystacks in Pend Oreille County escalated. One farmer who had 43 elk at stacks two weeks ago reported more than 60 last week. Electric fencing appears to be keeping the elk problem minimal.
- Another Pend Oreille County landowner was given cracker shells -- supposedly non-lethal shotgun shells that explode with a loud bang upon impact -- to haze away two moose that have been working on his haystack and even kicking in a panel on his pickup. Unfortunately, the landowner said that when he attempted to haze the moose with a cracker shell, he apparently made a direct hit: the young bull fell over and died. The landowner was given a written warning for the incident and the moose was donated to the Newport Food Bank.
- ORVs are using the state's Eloika Lake fishing access as a staging point. Some are fishermen and others are just racing on the ice.
- At least five deer were killed one day last week under kill permits issued to deal with the ongoing deer problem in the town of Republic.