OLYMPIA – The ringleader of a group of poachers who called themselves the “Kill ‘Em All Boyz” was sentenced last week to 13 months in prison, following a seven-month undercover investigation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Micky Ray Gordon, appearing Monday (Oct. 13) before the Wahkiakum County Superior Court in Cathlamet, pled guilty to charges of first-degree animal cruelty, illegal hunting with hounds, second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief. He was also fined $2,250, and will not be eligible to purchase a hunting license for five years.
Gordon, of Longview, was one of four members of the poaching ring to be charged and convicted of wildlife-related offenses as a result of the WDFW investigation. Three other men were sentenced to fines and terms in jail in separate court actions during the past year.
Bruce Bjork, chief of WDFW enforcement, said stopping the poaching ring’s activities – and prosecuting its members – has been a priority for the department.
“Working together, these guys took a lot of animals illegally and brazenly ignored laws related to landowners’ property rights,” Bjork said. “Gordon, in particular, had no respect for the state’s wildlife or the law.”
According to court records, the group used a uniquely crafted metal bar to break locks on gates to private timber company land, where they could poach elk, deer, bobcat and other animals out of sight of wildlife officers and the public. Records indicate that the group’s poaching activities ranged across five Washington counties and parts of Oregon and Idaho.
Animal cruelty charges against Gordon stemmed from an incident in which he connected shock collars to his hunting dog, while kicking and stomping the animal in January 2007. The dog died shortly thereafter.
Acting on an informant’s tip, undercover officers from WDFW’s Statewide Investigations Unit infiltrated the group and documented its activities. On June 6, 2007, all four members of the group were arrested and charged with various offenses.
Prior to being sentenced in Wahkiakum County, Gordon was sentenced to a total of 60 days in jail and $1,086 stemming from separate violations in Lewis, Jefferson and Cowlitz counties.
The other three members of the poaching ring, all from Longview, were sentenced by various courts between November 2007 and January 2008 for violations documented by WDFW. They include:
- Brian Hall, 20, pled guilty in Wahkiakum County Court to second-degree criminal trespass, third-degree malicious mischief and second-degree hunting with dogs. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $1,500 in fines, and will not be eligible to purchase a hunting license for two years.
- Adam Lee, 21, pled guilty in Lewis County Superior Court to hunting with a suspended license and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $1,850 in fines.
- Joseph Dills, 23, pled guilty in Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties to a variety of charges, ranging from second-degree big-game hunting to using bait to hunt for bear. Total penalties: 65 days in jail and $2,050 in fines. Dills is also pending trial in Lewis County on charges of committing other hunting violations.
Without the initial tip from an informant, WDFW might never have become aware of the group’s activities, Bjork said.
“We really appreciate the tip that got this investigation rolling,” Bjork said. “Poaching occurs in our state that we never hear about. But with one person’s help, we were able to stop an operation that was doing a lot of damage to both wildlife and private property.”
Bjork asks that anyone who witnesses a wildlife violation call WDFW’s toll-free Poaching Hotline at 1-877-933-9847.