WDFW Looking For Tips On I-82 Poaching

In what might be a possible spree killing, four deer were gunned down in southern Benton County, Wash., between Dec. 5 and 7, and three were left to waste.

According to WDFW officer Brian Fulton, on Sunday, Dec. 5th, an archer on a late elk hunt saw four deer 100 to 200 yards west of I-82 in a draw between mileposts 118 and 119. But when he came through two days later, there were only carcasses.

When Fulton arrived on the scene the morning of the 7th, he found one doe and two yearlings, as well as a set of drag marks up to the shoulder of I-82.

“We’re assuming it was a buck — a little 3-point was seen in the area,” Fulton says.

Though Kennewick is just to the north and Umatilla to the south, the area at the far eastern end of the Horse Heaven Hills where the incident occurred is lightly populated wheat-growing country.

“Still, it’s pretty brazen to be shooting at least four times off the interstate,” says Fulton.

It may be Benton County’s first “thrill killing,” where a poacher or poachers blast away at many animals and leave most of them to rot, as happened in Walla Walla and Asotin Counties earlier this year.

“We haven’t had any real cases of that,” says Fulton.

But neither do they have any suspects.

“We did recover some evidence at the scene that we’re processing,” says WDFW Sgt. Mike Jewell.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the poaching hotline (877-933-9847) or text in tips.

“There is a potential for a reward for apprehending a suspect,” says Fulton.

Cash rewards of up to $500 are paid for information that leads to a conviction while hunters can score up to 10 bonus points for their permit applications.

According to WDFW, the agency pays around $8,000 a year in rewards while typically 90 hunters get the extra points.

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