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Wildlife director accused of poaching big game in Washington, prosecutors say

A regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is accused of poaching an animal on or about Nov. 13, 2021, according to court documents filed on Dec. 20 in Ferry County, Washington.

A regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is accused of poaching an animal on or about Nov. 13, 2021, according to court documents filed on Dec. 20 in Ferry County, Washington.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

A wildlife director has been accused of poaching big game in Washington, prosecutors say.

Brock Hoenes, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in the north central region, was charged with second-degree unlawful hunting of big game, according to charging documents. He also faces a violation for hunting big game in a closed season or closed area.

The state wildlife agency is tasked with “preserving, protecting and perpetuating” the wildlife, fish and ecosystems across the state.

Ferry County prosecutors filed the unlawful hunting charge on Dec. 20. Animal and environmental advocacy group shared the court documents with McClatchy News.

“I self-reported the incident immediately after I realized I made the mistake and cooperated fully during the investigation,” Hoenes told The Spokesman-Review. “Due to the active judicial process underway, I can’t comment further at this time.”

A spokesperson for the wildlife agency told McClatchy News they cannot say much because the incident is a “legal and personnel issue.” But they shared an email from the agency’s director, Kelly Susewind, which was sent to the entire staff on Jan. 12.

“Brock did what we encourage anyone to do in this situation, which is to immediately call WDFW Enforcement if they suspect they’ve violated a fish and wildlife law,” Susewind said.

The incident happened around Nov. 13, according to court documents. But the type of the animal involved wasn’t mentioned in the court documents.

He could face one year in prison or a $5,000 fine, if convicted.

Hoenes became the wildlife’s regional director in August and has worked with the department since 2008.

He also worked for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish where he researched mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, cougars, black bears and pronghorn.

This story was originally published January 13, 2022 5:26 PM.

Helena Wegner is a McClatchy National Real-Time Reporter covering the state of Washington and the western region. She’s a journalism graduate from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s based in Phoenix.



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