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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Out & About: Poacher offers $6K to ease conscience

OUTREPENT – Saying he’s been burdened with guilt, a Montana man has mailed Washington wildlife officials $6,000 to compensate for deer he said he killed illegally – more than 40 years ago.

The man contacted a Washington Fish and Wildlife Department office a few weeks ago and confessed to an officer that he had killed three whitetail does illegally between 1967 and 1970, officials said Wednesday.

They identified the man only by his first name, Roy.

Capt. Richard Mann in Yakima told Roy that penalties for poaching antlerless deer were around $250 in the late 60s and range up to around $2,000 today.

“But I told him the crimes are well past the statute of limitations and no charges could be filed,” Mann said.

The officer suggested he could sign up with the agency for volunteer jobs at a wildlife area or habitat project to soothe his conscience, but Roy said he lived in Montana.

Last week, Mann got a message from the department’s Olympia headquarters that a $6,000 check had been delivered as a donation to the enforcement division.

“I was amazed,” Mann said. “It’s not uncommon for me to hear from people who are sorry for a wildlife infraction, but usually it’s because the judge stuck them with a big fine.”

“This doesn’t happen,” said Mike Cenci, the agency’s deputy chief of enforcement. “We do get donations, but if any were related to misdeeds or conscience, we’re not aware of it.”

Roy asked that the money be used for wildlife enforcement. In the letter with the check he wrote:

“My conscience has not allowed me to put this sin to rest until now. I know that God has forgiven me and hope that WDFW will as well.”

Wolves hard to peg even in Palouse

OUT THERE – Among the many wolf sightings reported in the region, some are more credible than others, including the black wolf wearing a radio collar and running with another wolf west of St. John, Wash., in recent months.

Washington Fish and Wildlife officials confirmed the wolf was not collared in Washington.

“The wolf could be from either Idaho, Montana or even B.C.,” said Jim Hayden, Idaho Fish and Game wildlife manager in Coeur d’Alene.

“All of us have plenty of collars that have gone off the air, or dispersed out of range where we’re flying,” he said, noting that GPS collars that can be followed by satellite are more expensive and used more sparingly.

“We have not collared any black wolves in the Idaho Panhandle, but a couple days prior to getting a call from a Washington biologist about that wolf, we had reports of two wolf tracks near Windy Bay, on the west side of Lake Coeur d’Alene, so that lends credence to the theory that those two wolves came from or through Idaho.

“We have four collars active in the Panhandle, three south of I-90 and one north of the corridor.”

Clay Hickey, Idaho Fish and Game biologist in Lewiston, emphasized that wolves can travel.

“One wolf collared in a study in Unit 10 north of Orofino and was killed by a hunter in unit 39 south of Lowman – third of the way across the state,” he said.

“Another one collared in the same study area was harvested in Montana near Helena.

“Given that backdrop, it’s anyone’s guess where that wolf in Washington came from.”