Well, here I sit writing another story on poaching. And, while they make for great writing content, I can’t help but to wish these types of stories would just go away. But, I am realistic and I know there will always be poaching stories to share. It is a crime that just makes no sense to me; and maybe if I occasionally came across one about a family that was just in desperate need for food, I could almost understand it. But, far too often these poaching stories are just about senseless killing or trophy hunting. But, what is the point of taking a trophy animal if you can’t even take credit for it? And going around killing animals just for the sole purpose of killing; there is just no excuse!
Okay, let’s get to the details. First, location. This case comes from southwestern Washington state and northwestern Oregon, with the majority of the poaching occurring in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Reports state that a large portion of the area is completely closed to hunting, or would require a special permit. However, that would make no difference to poachers; they obviously have a wanton disregard for laws.
Further details say that this poaching ring consists of nearly 2 dozen individuals, including at least 1 juvenile. And, the poaching can be dated back to 2015, with over 50 known expeditions. The group would use dogs to guide these hunting trips, sometimes taking out as many as 11 dogs at a time. And, as I’ve seen in past poaching stories, this group was intelligent enough to video their poaching adventures, as well as pose for pictures with their kills. These videos and pictures now serve as evidence in the case against them. You have to love it when ignorance backfires!
Now, how massive is this case? I already told you nearly 2 dozen poachers, but how many slaughtered animals are we talking about? According to authorities, there were over 100 black bear, bobcats, cougars, deer, and elk taken. And, while some of the kills were transported to the homes of the poachers, the majority were just shot and left to die. Wildlife officers state that the black bear took the brunt of the killing.
So far only a few suspects have been named, but be sure there are more to come. Some of these suspects will face over 60 charges. Here are the few that have been charged to date:
- Bryan Christopher Tretiak, of Morton, faces the potential of four counts of second-degree illegal hunting big game, four counts of illegal hunting with the aid of dogs, one count of waste of fish and wildlife worth $250 or more, and one count of first-degree illegal hunting big game.
- Erik Christian Martin will face nine counts of second-degree illegal hunting big game, 12 counts of illegal hunting with the aid of dogs, four counts of waste of fish and wildlife and three counts of first-degree illegal hunting big game.
- Eddy Alvin Dills, of Longview, is facing five counts of second-degree illegal hunting big game, four counts of illegal hunting with the aid of dogs, two counts of waste of fish and wildlife worth $250 or more, and one count of first-degree illegal hunting of big game.
- Joseph Allen Dills, of Longview, was designated for unspecified charges. According to The Daily News, Dills pleaded guilty in Wahkiakum County District Court in 2008 on charges of second-degree unlawful hunting of big game and second-degree criminal trespass and was sentenced to three months in jail, $1,540 fines and two years’ probation.
- William J. Haynes, of Longview, was also designated for unspecified charges. Charges against Haynes are expected to be finalized soon.
More suspects and charges are expected to be released at a later date, as the investigation is still ongoing.
Well, there you have it, another case of senseless killing and stupidity! I have absolutely no respect for these kind of people. Stories like these give hunters a bad name; but people need to realize these are not hunters. As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, true hunters have a respect for the animals they are pursuing. We have no desire to just go out and senselessly slaughter these magnificent creatures. I can only hope the courts give this group of individuals a fitting punishment. Slaps on the wrists for these types of crimes cannot be tolerated.
What do you feel is a fitting punishment for these types of crimes? I would love to hear what you think! Please leave your comments below, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.