Colton Tony Dick, 22, of Oakridge, Oregon, pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawfully taking an endangered species.
According to court documents, on October 5, 2016, using a rifle and scope, Dick shot at an endangered gray wolf without legal justification as the animal was walking away from him in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Dick was unable to locate the wolf.
Although Dick did not admit to killing a gray wolf, an investigation began on October 6, 2016 when an adult female GPS-collared gray wolf known as “OR 28” was found dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Oregon. On November 9, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensic Lab determined OR 28 died as a result of injuries sustained from a single gunshot wound.
Gray wolves (Canis lupus), located in Western Oregon, are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Unlawfully taking an endangered species carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
Under a deferred sentencing agreement with the government, Dick has agreed to submit to one-year of supervised release, pay restitution of $2,500 to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, not hunt any wildlife for a period of one year and perform 100 hours of community service.
If Dick complies with these conditions, he will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and the government will move to dismiss his charge.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted by Adam E. Delph, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
If you or someone you know has information about a wildlife crime, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-844-397-8477.