By Rich Landers
God help us if state budget cuts start whittling away at the already low number of Fish and Wildlife police patrolling Washington.
The four or five agents who might be scattered around 100,000 square miles of far-Eastern Washington on a given day could write tickets day and night. The woods and streams are crawling with people who violate the rules set to assure a steady supply of wildlife.
One state wildlife officer patrolling the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers last week wrote 14 citations in four hours. I’m not sure you could write up more violators doing breathalyzer tests at the Apple Cup.
Catching wildlife poachers is more difficult, since they’re not concentrated along streams. Cases can take days or weeks to make. Yet just last week, Fish and Wildlife police made 48 arrests and issued 24 warnings in the Spokane Region, according to Capt. Mike Whorton.
Failure to tag a deer or using someone else’s tag on a deer were common infractions, but officers had to deal with much more. Here’s a mere sampling from last week.
How to raise a kid: A deer decoy sting suckered what Whorton described as “one of the more notorious road-hunting families in the Spokane area.” Officers staked out the decoy and wrote tickets after the father encouraged his unlicensed 15-year-old son to shoot the decoy. More....