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Landowner uses tractor to ‘totally’ disable elk poacher’s pickup

A landowner used a tractor to
A landowner used a tractor to "disable" a pickup belonging to elk poachers trespassing on his property in Pierce County on Nov. 11, 2017. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

UPDATED 4:30 p.m.

POACHING -- Public sentiment is clearly behind the landowner who used his tractor to, shall we say, immobilize the pickup of elk poachers who were trespassing.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police are hesitant to say that's the proper way to respond. There could be consequences.

But for now, the WDFW report on Facebook is chalking up a lot of fans for the Pierce County man who went out into the night to make sure the poachers didn't get away.

WDFW officers Dennis Flowers and Justin Prater responded Saturday to a call about an active poacher.

Here's the WDFW summary of the case:

The first thing that Officer Flowers observed when he arrived in the area was a bit out of the ordinary. He witnessed a man on a tractor ram into ...the back of a parked pickup truck. The man on the tractor pushed the truck down an embankment into the tree line.

Officer Flowers removed the man from the tractor, removed a loaded .44 magnum revolver from his waist band and detained the man. The tractor man was the property owner and did not want the poacher to get away so he took it upon himself to disable the poachers vehicle which he totaled.

The poacher turned out to be a 16 year old neighbor and his grandfather. The 16 year old had killed a closed season cow elk. The cow elk was recovered and the meat donated to the Orting Food Bank.

Don't be tractor man - call us (360) 902-2936 or 911

A woman who says the incident happened on her property replied to WDFW's post with her version of what happened, and why her family members took the law into their own hands:

On that night we heard numerous gunshots just 100 yards from our house. Our house is in the middle of our 20 acres, so we knew someone was on our land if the shots were that close. My husband went to investigate and saw numerous flashlights coming from our woods, and heard more shots, so instead of being dumb and confronting a group by himself, he called 911. It took almost 2.5 hours for 2 sheriffs to arrive, and they refused to do anything because they said it was a “Department of Fish and Wildlife” thing. They gave us the WDFW line to call, and we got a voicemail when calling. The sheriffs told us WDFM won’t work after dark, so we were out of luck. At that point we took things into our own hands, since nobody else would do anything, and armed ourselves and went looking for the poacher that was shooting so close to our house. Luckily an awesome woman up the road found a “suspicious truck” and called us, so we went and camped by the truck to confront the poachers when they came back. The truck was on the piece of property next to ours, and when the property owner (aka: “Tractor Man”) showed up, he was really mad that someone parked on his property to poach on ours, and chaos ensued. I am not saying what “Tractor Man” did was necessarily right, but just know that the authorities were called hours before and wouldn’t do anything. When WDFW did show up they let us know that 911 incorrectly handled the situation and should have transferred us to them since we had an active shooter there within close vicinity of our home.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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