Redmond man who shot caged cougar loses hunting rights

State officials banned Ronald Wentz from hunting in Washington for two years, but staff reductions mean many poachers are never caught.

The Redmond man who sparked outrage by killing a cougar in a research trap will be barred from hunting in Washington for two years.

Ronald D. Wentz was previously fined $1,300 for the 2016 incident, but the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) didn’t strip him of his hunting privileges until prodded by an animal-welfare organization.

“It seemed like such an egregious situation for him to have received such a mild penalty for such a heinous crime,’ said Dan Paul, Washington director of The Humane Society of the United States.

After reading about the incident, first reported in February by The Seattle Times, Paul wrote WDFW Director Jim Unsworth and urged the state to permanently ban Wentz from hunting again in the state.

“ … we believe further action is necessary so that he may no longer have the opportunity to engage in cruel poaching behavior in the future,” Paul wrote.

The state agreed that “Mr. Wentz’s actions demonstrated a “willful or wanton disregard”for wildlife” — which Paul pointed out is legal grounds for permanently suspending a violator’s hunting rights. But WDFW officials opted for a two-year ban because Wentz had a valid hunting license and cougar tag.

Wentz, 54, declined to comment on the case and did not appeal the hunting ban.

Yanking a license is rare in Washington. Of 7,620 citations issued in 2016 for fishing or hunting violations, 108 led to suspensions.

Most of those cases involved infractions that automatically trigger suspensions, said WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. For example, hunting big game out of season or without a license requires a two-year suspension, as does racking up three hunting- or fishing-rule violations of any type during a 10-year period.

Cenci said the agency has only invoked the “willful or wanton…

Continue reading from the original source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *