Tag Archives: skamania county

Another Southwest Washington Poacher Sentenced

The third of four major members of a loose-knit Southwest Washington poaching ring was sentenced earlier this month.

A Skamania County judge ordered Joseph A. Dills to serve a year and pay $14,000 in fines after he pled guilty to illegal big game hunting, hound hunting and wasting game, according to The Daily News of Longview.

AN IMAGE RECOVERED DURING AN INVESTIGATION OF A SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON POACHING RING SHOWS A BEAR SURROUNDED BY HOUNDS. HOUND HUNTING HAS BEEN BANNED IN THE STATE SINCE THE MID-1990S. (WDFW)

Dills was also told to stay away from other members of the group, including his father, for half a decade, and he cannot own hunting dogs.

The newspaper reported that the 32-year-old can do his time on work release to pay the fine, but noncompliance could bring even heavier fines and result in hard time instead.

It’s at least the second time in the past dozen years that Dills has been sentenced for poaching. He was a member of the “Kill ’Em All Boyz” and in 2007 pled guilty to second-degree hunting violations and illegally baiting bears. He was sentenced to over two months in jail and to pay more than $2,000 in fines.

His most recent conviction came out of a December 2016 traffic stop by Oregon State Police wildlife troopers investigating a string of headless bucks shot and left on winter range near Mt. Hood.

They matched a trail cam photo of a truck with one spotted in The Dalles and pulled it over.

Inside were William J. Haynes and Erik C. Martin, whose cell phones led to a treasure trove of evidence linking that duo with Joseph Dills and his father, Eddy Dills, and accusations they and others were complicit in the illegal killings of dozens upon dozens of deer, elk, bears and bobcats in Washington and Oregon.

Since pleading guilty to 15 counts, including five felonies, in January (Northwest Sportsman, March 2019), Haynes was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $14,800, according to The Daily News. Eddy Dills received three-plus weeks of home detention.

As for Martin, per the paper, he is scheduled to go on trial in Skamania County on May 13 for 28 wildlife violations.

Once again, hat tip to prosecutors for following such a massive case through.

RMEF Awards $310,000 For Washington Elk Projects

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $309,735 in grant funding to benefit elk and elk habitat in Washington.

“Noxious weeds and overly dense forests continue to choke out quality forage for elk and other wildlife. The majority of these 2019 habitat stewardship projects tackle these issues head-on,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We also designated funding for scientific research to monitor the potential impact habitat modification has on predator-prey interactions.”

SUN BLAZES OVER WASHINGTON ELK COUNTRY. (RMEF)

Seventeen projects positively impact more than 4,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Kittitas, Lewis, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens and Yakima Counties.

Washington is home to more than 15,000 RMEF members and 25 chapters.

“We can’t say enough about our dedicated volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They generate revenue by hosting banquets, membership drives and other events that goes back on the ground in Washington and around the country to benefit our conservation mission.”

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 661 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $122.6 million. These projects protected or enhanced 479,785 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 125,245 acres.

Below is a listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2019 grants for the state of Washington.

Asotin County

  • Apply noxious weed treatment across 225 acres of public and private land to prevent the spread of rush skeletonweed, whitetop, spotted knapweed, hawkweeds and sulfur cinquefoil. RMEF supported the Asotin County weed control program since 2007.
  • Apply noxious weed treatment across 300 acres of Bureau of Land Management and private lands within the Lower Grande Ronde River drainages. The area provides prime habitat for fish, big game and native wildlife.
  • Apply noxious weed treatment across 500 acres within the Chief Joseph and W. T. Wooten Wildlife Areas where invasive weeds are a significant issue (also benefits Garfield and Columbia Counties).

Cowlitz County

  • Plant a variety of species within patches 3 to 10 acres in size, covering 60 total acres, to diversify elk and other wildlife habitat on the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area.
  • Apply lime and fertilizer followed by planting trees, shrubs and a grass seed mix across 200 acres in the Toutle River Valley, home to the highest winter concentration of elk near Mount Saint Helen’s.
  • Treat noxious weeds across 150 acres within the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (also benefits Skamania County).

Kittitas County

  • Restore 732 acres within the 2018 Milepost 22 Wildfire burn zone that charred the L. T. Murray Wildlife Area, home to year-round winter habitat for elk and other wildlife. Crews will use both an aerial and ground-based approach to treat a potential noxious weed outbreak.

Lewis County

  • Provide funding for research on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to monitor how and where elk seek and find forage in areas where timber production takes place. Results will inform managers of the potential role for variable density thinning in providing elk foraging habitat on the west slope of the Washington Cascades.

Okanogan County

  • Provide funding for the Mid Valley Archers Memorial Day Shoot, a family-friendly event focused on providing instruction and fun for archers of all ages.
  • Provide funding for the annual Bonaparte Lake Kid’s Fishing Day (also benefits Ferry County).

Pend Oreille County

  • Thin seedlings and small pole-sized trees from 33 acres of dense conifer stands in the Indian Creek watershed on the Colville National Forest. The area is winter and year-long range for the Selkirk elk herd.

Skamania County

  • Treat 1,215 acres of meadows and adjacent roads/right-of-ways on the south end of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. These meadows provide vital forage for the Mount St. Helens elk herd.
  • Transform six acres of mid-successional forest within the Upper Lewis River watershed into a grassy meadow to provide forage for big game species.

Stevens County

  • Provide funding for scientific research to conduct vegetation surveys across elk habitat that intersects with wolf range. Scientists will pair that information with elk movement and survivorship data to determine how human modifications of the landscape influence elk (also benefits Pend Oreille County).

Yakima County

  • Thin 426 acres on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area to promote high quality habitat for elk and other wildlife.
  • Restore native grasses and forbs to an estimated 350 acres on the Wenas Wildlife Area that was affected by the 2018 Buffalo Wildfire. Crews will apply noxious weed treatment followed by seeding.
  • Provide funding for the Kamiakin Roving Archers, a youth archery development league participant, to purchase archery supplies for the upcoming season. The program provides shooting instruction and training on archery equipment with an emphasis on safety and responsibility.

Southwest Washington Poacher Pleads Guilty To 15 Counts

William J. Haynes, part of a loose-knit Southwest Washington poaching ring, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of illegal hunting activities, including five felonies, in Skamania County yesterday.

WILLIAM J. HAYNES. (WDFW)

The 25-year-old could be sentenced to a year in jail, according to The Daily News of Longview, which broke the news.

Haynes also stands to lose his rights to own guns and dogs, and could be ordered to not contact two other members of the group that unlawfully ran hounds after bears, killing and leaving the carcasses to waste, as well as lose his hunting privileges, depending on a judge’s decision, according to the paper.

The other 10 charges he pleaded guilty to were gross misdemeanors.

“That’s the most I’ve ever heard someone plead guilty to,” WDFW Region 5 Captain Jeff Wickersham told reporter Alex Bruell.

Haynes had been originally charged with 64 counts in Skamania County.

The Daily News also reported two other major players had been convicted there:

  • Eddy A. Dills pleaded guilty to illegal big game hunting in the first degree, unlawfully hunting with hounds and wastage last November and was sentenced to three-plus weeks of home detention;
  • And his son Joseph A. Dills pleaded guilty to four similar charges last October and faces sentencing next month.

The fourth primary member of the group, Erik C. Martin, had also been expected to plead guilty and is currently serving a jail sentenced in Oregon, the paper reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the time Martin is doing south of the Columbia was related to the 42 charges he was hit with last May by Wasco County.

That’s where the case began in late December 2016 after Oregon State Police wildlife troopers investigating a string of headless bucks shot and left on winter range near Mt. Hood matched a trail cam photo of a truck with one spotted in The Dalles and pulled it over.

Inside were Haynes and Martin, and a mountain of evidence was ultimately found on their phones and homes.

WILLIAM J. HAYNES AND ERIK C. MARTIN. (WDFW)

The case became public in spring 2017 after search warrants were served at suspects’ houses and antlers along with videos showing multiple bears and bobcats being pursued by hounds surfaced. Hound hunting has been outlawed for 20 years.

“They just want to see stuff die. It’s a sick and twisted mentality; you and I will not get it,” then WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci told Northwest Sportsman. “It’s so shocking. Most human beings wouldn’t do this.”

Charges have also been filed in other counties in Oregon and Washington.

Huge hat tip to all of the county prosecutors who are dedicating resources to working these poachers and other suspects through the court system — thank you, it is very much appreciated by law-abiding sportsmen.