Five arrested following hunting incidents

OAKLAND — Maryland Natural Resources Police recently arrested five Garrett County residents on charges related to a string of illegal hunting incidents that reportedly began in 2016 and continued into this year. NRP officers executed search and seizure warrants at several homes last month following tips from social media and the public.

Tyler Michael DeWitt, 21, Swanton, was charged with hunting during a closed season, possessing of deer in a closed season, hunting deer at night, hunting deer with a spotlight, shooting from a vehicle, hunting without written permission, removing the head or hide of a deer before check-in, failing to report a turkey kill and obstructing or hindering a police investigation. He was cited for 30 violations that could lead to a total maximum fine of $45,500 and revocation of his hunting privileges for up to five years.

Dakota Lee Hinebaugh, 29, Oakland, was cited for 24 violations that could lead to fines totaling $39,500 and revocation of his hunting privileges for up to five years. He is accused of hunting without a license, hunting during a closed season, possessing of deer in a closed season, hunting deer at night, hunting deer with a spotlight, hunting without written permission and removing the head or hide of a deer before check-in.

The investigation revealed that Tyler DeWitt and Dakota Hinebaugh engaged in night hunting on several occasions from roads in southern Garrett County. The following men were reportedly implicated in the activities.

Michael Allen DeWitt, 42, Oakland, was charged with obstructing and hindering a police investigation, as well as littering, after his son Tyler (mentioned above) warned him in April to throw away packages of deer meat and antlers kept at the senior DeWitt’s home. He faces a potential fine of $1,500 and up to 30 days in jail.

Donald Lee Hinebaugh Jr., 41, Oakland, received citations for failing to report two deer kills and aiding and abetting hunting without a license. He faces a potential fine of up to $1,500.

Phillip Lyle DeWitt, 58, Mtn. Lake Park, was cited for failing to report a kill and failing to record the kill on his Big Game Harvest Record. He could be fined a maximum of $3,000.

In connection with the investigation, Maryland State Police charged Lukas Isaac Holler, 18, Oakland, and James Wesley Lewis, 19, Accident, each with possession of a rifle or shotgun after conviction of a disqualifying crime and illegal possession of ammunition. The weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 fine, and the ammunition charge carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

Officers reportedly searched an area near Graham Road and found approximately a dozen deer carcasses dumped over the embankment. Some of the heads of the carcasses had the skull plate/antlers removed while antlered deer with small racks were intact.

Trial dates in Garrett County District Court are pending.

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Suspects in massive Wash. poaching investigation plead not guilty

File photo

AA

CENTRALIA, Wash. (AP) – Two of the three newest suspects in a massive poaching investigation out of southwest Washington have pleaded not guilty.

The Chronicle reports Aaron Hendricks, his father-in-law David McLeskey of Woodland and Aaron Hanson are facing charges of first-degree animal cruelty, unlawful hunting of black bear, cougar, bobcat or lynx with dogs and second-degree unlawful hunting of animals.

Hendricks and McLeskey have pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Hanson is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

According to court documents, officials uncovered a network of poachers after investigating William Haynes and Erik Martin who are suspected of engaging in illegal hunting activities.

Law enforcement identified Hanson, Hendricks and McLeskey as suspects and co-conspirators in the illegal activities from cellphone evidence.

Saskatchewan man handed lifetime hunting ban

Saskatchewan man handed lifetime hunting ban

Saskatchewan man fined, handed a lifetime hunting ban for running an illegal outfitting operation.

Saskatchewan man fined, handed a lifetime hunting ban for running an illegal outfitting operation.

Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

– A A +

A Saskatchewan man has been handed a lifetime hunting ban after pleading guilty to running an illegal outfitting operation.

Ministry of Environment conservation officers started an investigation into Steven Bullock, 36, in March 2016 after becoming aware of a possible illegal outfitting company called In The Stix Bear Camp.

READ MORE: 2 Saskatchewan men fined for illegal moose hunting


Officers said he had been advertising bear hunts on social media since 2015 and an inactive camp in northern Saskatchewan was being used as a front for the operation.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources became involved in the investigation in the fall of 2016 after an American client was provided outfitting services to hunt black bears along the North Saskatchewan River near Langham and fish at Blackstrap Lake.

Bullock, who is from Langham, was charged with outfitting and advertising without a licence, exceeding fish possession limits, breaching a 10 year firearms prohibition order, possession of a firearm without a possession acquisition licence and falsifying hunting/outfitting licenses.

He pleaded guilty in Saskatoon provincial court to seven charges and was fined $16,080.

Bullock was also handed a lifetime ban from applying or obtaining a big game licence, game bird licence or fur licence.

He is also banned from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition for three years, must contact a conservation officer prior to accompanying anyone on a hunt and abide by the conditions of his probation and conditional sentence orders.

Environment Ministry officials said anyone charged and convicted of a suspendable wildlife infraction on three separate occasions automatically receives a lifetime hunting suspension.

Bullock pleaded guilty in October 2016 to illegally hunting moose in the Langham area in November 2014.

Along with receiving a fine of $5,600, he was given a four-year hunting suspension.

There is no information available on his third offence.

Wildlife Advocates Want Closer Look At Wolf Shot By Hunter

http://kuow.org/post/wildlife-advocates-want-closer-look-wolf-shot-hunter

  NOV 9, 2017
Originally published on November 9, 2017 7:44 pm

 Wildlife advocates want Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to reopen an investigation into an elk hunter’s shooting of a wolf in Eastern Oregon, which was initially ruled self-defense.

In the weeks since, potential discrepancies in the evidence and the account from Oregon State Police have been raised by wolf advocates, a prominent wolf biologist and former Fish and Wildlife Service trapper, as well as a former district attorney in Oregon.

On Oct. 27, a man from Clackamas hunting near La Grande called police to report he’d shot a wolf. He said he encountered three wolves. One charged at him. He told police he feared for his life.

He fired one shot and killed it. The rest scattered.

Police ruled it self defense. It is illegal to shoot a wolf in Oregon, unless it is in self-defense or the wolf is caught in the act of attacking livestock.

The hunter, Brian Scott, could not be reached for comment. On Saturday, he told The Oregonian/Oregonlive he was terrified as he raised his rifle, saw nothing but hair in the scope, and shot.

“People envision this jerk hunter out to kill anything, but that’s not me. It frustrates me they don’t understand,” Scott told The Oregonian/Oregonlive. “I’m a meat hunter. I was looking for a spike elk. This wasn’t exciting. It ruined my hunt.”

Eighteen environmental groups have now petitioned the governor’s office to order a new look at the Oregon State Police investigation, this time with independent oversight from the state attorney general’s office, with cooperation from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“The hunter may have been afraid. We aren’t questioning that. We are, however, questioning why OSP’s report does not give a complete or accurate account of the evidence,” said Quinn Read, with Defenders of Wildlife.

“It’s not about discrepancies in the hunter’s story. To me, the problem is the agency charged with enforcing our state’s wildlife laws either overlooked some evidence, they either misinterpreted it or perhaps misrepresented it,” Read said.

Photographs show the gunshot wound is on the side of the wolf. That’s an unlikely location for a charging animal, said Scott Heiser, a former Benton County district attorney who worked for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Heiser reviewed available evidence at the request of Oregon Wild.

“The photographs publicly available suggest that this wolf was shot in the middle of the right side of her body with an exit wound at the left front shoulder,” Heiser said. “If this is accurate, then that would profoundly contradict a self-defense claim as the presumptive angle of the bullet would suggest the wolf was not charging the shooter at the time he fired the shot.”

Heiser said Oregon State Police should have called for a necropsy of the animal. He said that could have helped determined whether the animal charged but turned at the last second, or some other explanation for the wound location.

Wolf biologist Carter Niemeyer, who spent many years as a wolf tracker for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also said the photographs of the wound appear more consistent with an animal shot from the side, while stationary.

“That’s a pretty well-placed bullet for a snapshot,” said Niemeyer. “Shooting predators, that’s where that scope, crosshairs is usually put. Right on the chest area.”

Niemeyer said because the wolf was a small female — 83 pounds — he would expect it to flee human contact. He said he isn’t judging Scott, the hunter, or questioning whether he was fearful, as he said he was. He thinks a more thorough investigation would have prevented much of the speculation.

The governor’s office and Oregon police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the letter, wolf advocates said self-defense can be an “easy out” for those who kill wolves illegally. Two other wolves in Oregon have been illegally killed since last October. As Oregon’s wolf population has expanded to the point that the state can consider future wolf hunting, those groups fear what will happen without close scrutiny of self-defense claims.

Dominic Aiello, a hunting advocate and president of the Oregon Outdoor Council, said environmental groups are blowing this wolf’s death out of proportion, which will exacerbate the controversial issue of wolf recovery.

He said he doubts Oregon will come to see overwhelming use of the self-defense claim.

“I think if you’re intent on killing a wolf illegally, you’re not going to call OSP to say you’ve actually shot a wolf,” Aiello said. “ Someone’s not going to call the police on themselves after killing a wolf that they didn’t need to kill. It doesn’t make sense.”

Two elk shot dead near Cottonwood Pass; authorities looking for information

http://fox21news.com/2017/11/09/two-elk-shot-dead-near-cottonwood-pass-authorities-looking-for-information/

BUENA VISTA, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking the public for information about two bull elk that were found shot dead near Cottonwood Pass on Sunday.

Wildlife officials said a hunter found the abandoned carcasses off County Road 306 about a half mile from the summit of Cottonwood Pass, which is west of Buena Vista. They estimate both elk were shot dead early Sunday morning. The carcasses, which were abandoned about 50 yards from the road, were fully intact.

Anyone with information about the deaths is asked to call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-539-8413 or 719-530-5520.

Wildlife officials said they recognize accidents can happen while hunting, and they urge the responsible person to step forward.

“Prompt self-reporting will be taken into account when charges are being considered,” they said in a statement.

According to CPW, willfully destroying and abandoning big game can lead to felony charges. If convicted, violators can be fined more than $10,000 and face up to a year in jail, along with a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges in 44 states, including Colorado.

Oregon hunter kills wolf, claims self-defense, W/photos

 http://www.kgw.com/news/local/animal/oregon-hunter-kills-wolf-claims-self-defense/488528341

A hunter shot and killed a wolf that he said was running at him.

A 38-year-old hunter says he shot and killed a wolf that was “running directly at him” in northeast Oregon’s Union County, the Oregon State Police reported Tuesday.

It’s illegal to kill a wolf in Oregon, but police said the hunter, who wasn’t named, won’t be charged because it’s believed he was acting in self-defense, officials said.

The incident marks the first time that a wolf has been reported shot in self-defense in Oregon since they began returning to the state in the late 1990s.

According to police, the hunter was stalking elk in the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit when he observed three of what he assumed were coyotes, police said.

One of the animals began to run directly at him, while another made its way around him, the hunter told police. He said he screamed at the lead animal but, fearing for his life, shot the animal a single time.

Here’s a picture of the wolf killed last week by a hunter in NE Oregon. He claimed self defense. No charges pending.

Later, the hunter, who is from Clackamas County, later discovered the animal was a wolf and “self-reported shooting a wolf in Union County,” police said.

The Union County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and said the hunter wouldn’t be prosecuted because it’s believed “to be an incidence of self-defense.”

Confirmed reports of wolves attacking humans are extremely rare.

“Wolves typically try to avoid humans whenever possible,” Oregon State University professor Bill Ripple told the Statesman Journal in a previous interview.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a report that “wolves will tend to avoid people and wolf-human conflicts are extremely rare. They are more likely to occur when wolves are habituated to people, when dogs are involved, or if wolves are sick (e.g. rabies).”

© 2017 KGW-TV

Man Is Cited For Illegal Hunting In Rockport State Park

http://kpcw.org/post/man-cited-illegal-hunting-rockport-state-park

20 HOURS AGO

CREDIT UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES

A resident of Rockport saw some hunters shooting deer from the roadway on State Routh 32 near the State Park.  It turns out the hunters were cited by the Division of Wildlife Resources on a couple of counts.

3 Idaho Hunters Caught in Illegal Hunting Sting in Wyoming

Hunting Violation:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/idaho/articles/2017-10-30/3-idaho-hunters-caught-in-illegal-hunting-sting-in-wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has caught three deer hunters from Idaho attempting to illegally pursue game over state lines in a sting operation using a remote-controlled mule deer buck.

The Jackson Hole News And Guide reports the department schedules the sting for the opening day of deer hunting in Idaho, which usually comes after the Wyoming season has concluded.

Maryland Natural Resources Police Announces Charges Connected Deer Poaching

http://morningsidemaryland.com/maryland-natural-resources-police-announces-charges-connected-deer-poaching/

The Maryland Natural Resources Police arrested five Garrett County men for deer poaching activities, which stemmed back as far as 2016.

Public tips and social media posts prompted an investigation into a string of illegal hunting incidents. Homes in Garrett County were served search warrants in July, before charges were filed against the five suspects.

Twenty-nine-year-old Dakota Lee Hinebaugh, of Oakland, was fined for 24 hunting violations. He faces up to $39,500 in fines and loss of hunting privileges for up to five years, police said. He allegedly hunted without a license and during a closed season, as well as possessed a deer during a closed season. Hinebaugh is accused of hunting deer at night without written permission, with a spotlight and hiding a deer or removing the head before check-in, according to police.

Deer HuntingTwenty-one-year-old Michael DeWitt, of Swanton, was fined for a total of 30 violations. He faces maximum fines up to $45,500 and loss of his hunting privileges for up to five years, police said. DeWitt allegedly hunted during and possessed a deer in a closed season. He is also accused of firing his gun from a vehicle, hunting deer with a spotlight, hunting without written permission, failing to return a turkey kill, obstructing a police investigation and hiding a deer or removing a deer’s head before check-in.

Forty-two-year-old Michael Allen DeWitt, of Oakland, was charged with littering and hindering or obstructing a police investigation. He faces a 30-day jail sentence and a maximum fine of $1,500.

Forty-one-year-old Donald Lee Hinebaugh, of Oakland, was fined for aiding and abetting hunting without a licensed and failing to report two deer kills, police said. He faces a maximum five of $1,500.

Fifty-eight-year-old Phillip Lyle DeWitt, of Mount Lake Park, was fined for “failing to report a kill and failing to record the kill on his Big Game Harvest Record,” police said. He faces a maximum fine of $3,000.

Additionally, the Maryland State Police charged 19-year-old James Wesley Lewis, of Accident and 18-year-old Lukas Issac Holler, of Oakland, for possession of a shotgun or rifle and illegal ammunition after conviction of a disqualifying crime. Both men face a maximum three-year prison sentence and maximum $1,000 fine. They also face an additional one-year prison sentence and maximum fine of $1,000 for the ammunition charge.

Conservation Groups Join Reward to Catch Oregon Wolf-killer Reward for Information Jumps to $15,500

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/wolf-10-24-2017.php

PORTLAND, Ore.— Conservation organizations are bolstering a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services reward for information on the illegal killing of OR-33, a federally protected gray wolf in southwestern Oregon. The Service has offered a $5,000 reward, and five conservation organizations have contributed an additional $10,500, bringing the total to $15,500.

Since 2015 at least eight wolves have been poached or died under mysterious circumstances in Oregon. Those include OR-33, OR-28, OR-22, OR-34, OR-31, an uncollared sub-adult wolf from the Walla Walla pack, and two wolves known as the Sled Springs pair. Poaching is an acute problem in Oregon, which demands serious attention from lawmakers and wildlife management officials — to strengthen and enforce wildlife laws, and to deter and fully prosecute criminals.

“Poaching is a huge and growing problem in Oregon. We need everyone’s help to catch this killer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation groups alike are working together to bring justice for OR-33, and send a message that this vile act won’t be tolerated in our state,” said Quinn Read, Northwest representative of Defenders of Wildlife.

“We can only hope that this reward helps stop the next protected wolf from being killed,” said Joseph Vaile, executive director at the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

“This is a heartbreaking loss for Oregon’s wolves. Wolf recovery in Oregon depends on wolves like OR-33 making their way west and thriving, so his death is a major setback. We hope someone will do the right thing and come forward with information,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“We are helping contribute to the reward fund in the hopes of finding the perpetrator and bringing them to justice. Going forward, we encourage the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to take wolf poaching more seriously,” said Danielle Moser, wildlife coordinator for Oregon Wild.

“The senseless killing of one of Oregon’s iconic wolves is an appalling and serious crime. We are grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their diligent efforts to find those responsible and bring the offender or offenders to justice,” said Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

Anyone with information about this case should call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888.

Background 
OR-33 was found dead of gunshot wounds near Klamath Falls on April 23. Details about this illegal killing were released on Oct. 11 after the Fish and Wildlife Service completed a necropsy.

OR-33 was a 4-year-old male gray wolf. He dispersed from the Imnaha Pack in northeast Oregon in November 2015. Although he had a collar, it stopped functioning in August 2016.

Killing a gray wolf in the western two-thirds of Oregon is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. It is also a violation of Oregon state game laws and is subject to both criminal and civil penalties. The investigation of this crime is being conducted by the Oregon State Police and the Fish and Wildlife Service.