PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. – A landowner near Orting, Washington is accused of ramming his tractor into a truck that belongs to a person who he thought was a poacher.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police said they received a call Saturday evening about an active poacher on someone’s property. When officers arrived on scene, they saw a man in a tractor ram into the back of a parked pickup truck. Officials said the man on the tractor pushed the truck down an embankment into the tree line.
Authorities said the man in the tractor was detained and he had a .44 Magnum revolver in his waistband. They said the man on the tractor was the landowner. He told the officers he did not want the poacher to get away so he took it upon himself to disable the poacher's truck.
Officials said the poacher turned out to be a 16-year-old neighbor and his grandfather, who are new to Washington state. They said he had killed a closed season cow elk. The animal was recovered and the meat was donated to the Orting Food Bank.
Authorities said the teenager had a North Carolina hunter education card. They said he took bad advice that he could kill a cow elk. The case is expected to be forwarded to the county prosecutor. Officials said charges could include closed season poaching with fines and mandatory hunter education training. The landowner could also face charges of malicious mischief for totaling the teenager’s truck.
WDFW Police posted about this incident on its Facebook page, where neighbors complained about the response to this incident. WDFW officials said they did not receive a 911 dispatch or a formal request for help from county officers. An officer’s relative saw an online post on a local neighborhood group and called the officer. Officials said the officer arrived at the location within 30 minutes of getting that phone call. They will be following up to address the miscommunication from 911 dispatch. They also apologized for the “poor response from law enforcement.”