By Pete Thomas
Poachers of wildlife seem to be making headlines every day somewhere in the country, tarnishing the image of legitimate hunters.
The latest story involves eight Ohio residents who traveled to West Virginia to carry out their dirty deeds, which involved illegally baiting black bears to a specific site and shooting them from elevated camouflaged stands.
They were apprehended after a long investigation by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources conservation officers and Wildlife Resources personnel.
“This group of hunters, all of whom were residents of Ohio, had been participating in this type of illegal activity for a period of several years,” said Capt. Michael Waugh of the Division of Natural Resources' District 3 office in Elkins. “They had purchased their bait, which consisted of donuts and corn, from multiple out-of-state vendors. The bait was then hauled into the area by truck and distributed to the bait sites using all-terrain vehicles. This out-of-state purchase and interstate transport of the bait is believed to have been an effort on the part of the poachers to conceal the quantities of bait, the purposes for which it was being purchased, and to avert suspicion in the areas they were baiting.”
Investigators uncovered seven baited shooting sites in Nicholas County. The alleged culprits -- two have yet to be arraigned -- were arrested at a cabin used as a base camp and at shooting sites. Two large adult black bears (pictured) and large quantities of bait were seized at the base camp. Two other bears had reportedly been transported out of state, and a request for assistance in recovering these animals has been made to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under provisions of the Lacey Act. More....