Tag Archives: mt. baker-snoqualmie national forest

Deer ‘Poaching’ Call In Central Cascades Turns Up Felon, Firearms

Washington game wardens are investigating a bizarre incident involving a dead blacktail deer literally pumped full of lead, five people found a few miles away, and the recovery of numerous firearms with missing serial numbers or without any at all.


“We still don’t know for sure what happened,” said WDFW Sgt. Kim Chandler this afternoon. “They either flat-out poached a deer or, according to them, hit it with their car and shot it 100 times.”

“I don’t know if it was 100 times, but there were shell casings from three different weapons,” he said.

What is known is that last Friday four men and a woman whose ages and hometowns weren’t immediately available apparently drove up the North Fork Road outside North Bend east of Seattle for whatever reason and at some point 3 to 4 miles from the end of the gravel they encountered the deer.

Chandler said that there was a small crack and some deer hair on the bumper of their car, and that the deer had a broken leg, which might suggest it was run into.

But he also said the leg could have been broken due to the “dozens of dozens of rounds” of .223 and 9mm ammo shot at the animal.

The carcass was butchered — “They obviously didn’t know what they were doing,” the officer said — and put in a cooler, and the quintet apparently continued to the end of the road in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for the night.

On Saturday, a hiker came upon the remains of the deer “in the middle of the road” and called it in as a poaching, according to Chandler.

A WDFW officer dispatched to the scene found it and in trying to figure out what had happened, called in another warden to help.

As they searched the area past the carcass and shells in the road they came across two men and a woman asleep in a car, with one of the men “on top of all kinds of AR-15s,” said Chandler.

After the trio were woken up, one of the firearms — a 9mm AR-15 pistol — came back as stolen, while others — which Chandler described as “AR-15 build-it-yourself weapons” — didn’t have serial numbers whatsoever.

When they were asked who the vehicle belonged to, they gave a name of a man who was not present and who they said had gone hiking.

As the officers were talking with the three, that man apparently came down the trail while carrying a .380-caliber handgun, along with a fifth person carrying an “assault rifle,” Chandler said.

“They did a double take, saw all the police, and headed into the brush,” he said.

That precipitated a call for backup to the King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and a canine unit, which caught the attention Living Snoqualmie, which first reported the incident.

Once the officers were all assembled, a public address system was used to call in the two individuals who’d run off.

The man who allegedly owned the car came out, though not with the handgun he’d been carrying, nor with the fifth person, who never came out, Chandler said.

The end of the North Fork Road is about 24 miles from North Bend.

As things began to get sorted out, it was discovered that one of the men who’d been asleep in the car with all the ARs was a convicted felon who wasn’t supposed to be around guns at all.

He was subsequently booked into King County Jail, Chandler said.

Chandler said he’s seen a lot of cases in his years with WDFW but this turned out to be among the more unusual ones.

“At the very least, it’s a violation of the (roadkill) salvage law. You have to wait for an officer to dispatch” struck and injured animals, he said.

“These guys didn’t have a clue about the salvage law, but now they do.”

While happy that the situation wasn’t anything like it seemed like — the parade of police vehicles heading up the North Fork Road sparked a rumor that a WDFW warden had been shot, Chandler said — and that nobody got hurt, it’s still an active investigation.

“It turned into a whole lot more than a poached deer,” he said. “Some serious stuff there. The ATF is very interested in all the guns without serial numbers.”

He said the state crime lab might also be able to raise those that had been filed off one weapon.

Olympic-Cascades Mountain Goat Project Wraps Up With 98 Translocated

Nearly 100 mountain goats from the Olympic Mountains are now kicking up their heels across Puget Sound in Washington’s Central and North Cascades after a two-week capture-and-transfer project wrapped up earlier this week.


State and federal wildlife officials plan to come back the next two summers to remove as many billies, nannies and kids from the rugged peaks of the peninsula, where the species was introduced in the 1920s by hunters, as they can to help bolster herds in their native habitat along the spine of the Evergreen State and reduce environmental damage from the species in the Olympics.

By the numbers from a joint Olympic National Park-Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest-WDFW press release, here’s what the first year’s effort looks like:

Olympic Range mountain goat population pre-project: ~725

Original introduction: 12 animals (released 1925 to 1929 near Lake Crescent)

Mountain goats captured: 115

Translocated to Cascades: 98

Nannies translocated: 68

Billies translocated: 30

Nannyless kids transferred to Northwest Trek: 6

Capture mortalities: 6

Euthanized: 3 (“unfit for translocation,” per NPS)

Transport mortalities: 2

People involved: 175 (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, area tribes, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Leading Edge Aviation, etc.)

Volunteers: 77 (from WDFW)

Length of operation: 14 days

Flyable days: 10* (work ended early on several days, per NPS)

Cascade release sites: 5 (2 near Darrington, 1 north of Rainy and Washington Passes in the North Cascades, 1 northwest of Kachess Lake by Snoqualmie Pass, and 1 in the headwaters of the Cedar River southwest of Snoqualmie Pass)

Estimated results of three-year project: 90 percent removal of population (“The remaining 10 percent would be addressed through ongoing maintenance activities which would involve opportunistic ground- and helicopter-based lethal removal of mountain goats, with a focus on areas near high visitor use and areas where goats are causing resource damage,” says the park service.)

Mountain Goats On The Move: Olympics-to-North Cascades Effort Starts Next Week


Starting September 10, a coalition of state and federal agencies, with support from local tribes, will begin translocating mountain goats from Olympic National Park to the northern Cascade Mountains to meet wildlife management goals in both areas.


This effort to translocate mountain goats from the Olympic Peninsula is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) to re-establish and assist in connecting depleted populations of mountain goats in the Washington Cascades.

Area tribes lending support to the translocation plan in the Cascades include the Lummi, Muckleshoot, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish, Tulalip, and Upper Skagit tribes.

In May, the NPS released the final Mountain Goat Management Plan which outlines the effort to remove the estimated 725 mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula. Both the plan and the associated environmental impact statement were finalized after an extensive public review process which began in 2014.

This month’s two-week effort to move mountain goats to native habitat in the northern Cascades is the first translocation operation since the release of the final Mountain Goat Management Plan. Two additional two-week periods are planned for next year. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.

“Mountain goat relocation will allow these animals to reoccupy historical range areas in the Cascades and increase population viability,” said Jesse Plumage, USFS Wildlife Biologist.

While some mountain goat populations in the north Cascades have recovered since the 1990s, the species is still absent from many areas of its historic range.

Aerial capture operations will be conducted through a contract with a private company that specializes in the capture and transport of wild animals. The helicopter crew will use tranquilizer darts and net guns to capture mountain goats and transport them in specially made slings to the staging area on Hurricane Hill Road beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park. The staging area will be closed to public access.

The animals will be examined by veterinarians before WDFW wildlife managers transport them overnight to staging areas in the north Cascades for release the following day.

During this first round, WDFW will only translocate goats from the park to non-wilderness release sites in the Cascades. There will be no closures for release operations in the national forests in 2018. To maximize success, goats will be brought directly to alpine habitats that have been selected for appropriate characteristics. To access these areas, goats will be airlifted in their crates by helicopter.

WDFW plans to release the mountain goats at five selected sites in the Cascades this month. Two release areas are near mountain peaks south of the town of Darrington, on the Darrington District of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS). The others are near Mt. Index, on the Skykomish Ranger District of the MBS, Tower Peak in the Methow area of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and the headwaters of the Cedar River Drainage, which is land owned by Seattle Public Utilities.

“The translocation effort will relieve issues with non-native mountain goats in the Olympics while bolstering depleted herds in the northern Cascades,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Mountain goats cause significant impacts to the park ecosystem as well as public safety concerns.”

Mountain goats follow and approach hikers because they are attracted to the salt from their sweat, urine, and food. That behavior is less likely in the north Cascades where visitors are more widely distributed than those at Olympic National Park, said Rich Harris, a WDFW wildlife manager who specializes in mountain goats.

“In addition, the north Cascades has an abundance of natural salt licks, while the Olympic Peninsula has virtually none,” Harris said. “Natural salt licks greatly reduce mountain goats’ attraction to people.”

For more information about mountain goats in Washington state, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/mountain_goats.html.

Along with the staging area closure on Hurricane Hill Road, several trails in Olympic National Park will be closed for visitor and employee safety during helicopter operations. For more information and updates, visit www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/mountain-goat-capture-and-translocation.htm.