Oct 14, 2016
by Greg Moore
A central Oregon resident has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to placing poison on a deer carcass in the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness that caused the death of a wolf and a dog.
According to a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Tim Clemens entered a guilty plea Tuesday, Oct. 4, to one count of poisoning animals and one count of unlawful take of big game.
Fourth District Magistrate Lamont Berecz sentenced Clemens to 10 days in jail, 200 hours of community service in lieu of an additional 20 days in jail, and four years of probation, during which time he cannot hunt. The court also ordered Clemens to pay $675 in fines, court costs and community service insurance, $400 in civil damages for the big game animal killed and $10,000 in restitution to Idaho Fish and Game for investigative costs.
Fish and Game reported that the charges were the result of an investigation launched in January after conservation officers received a citizen report that two dogs had been poisoned in the Brush Creek drainage of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River during the previous fall hunting season. Brush Creek flows into the lower Middle Fork from the west at the Flying B Ranch.
A veterinarian confirmed that one dog had died from poisoning and a second dog had survived after treatment for poison symptoms. Interviews of the dogs’ owner and others tied the incident to a field-dressed deer carcass.
After winter snows receded, Fish and Game officers were able to access the remote area to gather evidence. Sample results from a wolf carcass that the officers found near the site confirmed that it had ingested poison, and sample results from the poisoned dog matched the deer carcass.
Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler said in an interview that investigators were able to work with people who knew where animals had been killed by hunters in that area.
“[The investigators] were able to find the various kill sites and take samples,” Keckler said.
Valley County Prosecutor Carol Brockmann stated that the complex investigation involved multiple interviews in two states and close cooperation between the prosecution and Fish and Game.
According to the news release, Clemens admitted to Fish and Game that he put a small amount of poison on the carcass of the deer he had killed after the meat was removed.
“We don’t know what he was targeting,” Keckler said.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, the court granted a withheld judgment. A withheld judgment means that after completing his sentence and probation, Clemens may ask the court to dismiss the charges against him, removing them from his criminal record.