MEDFORD, Ore. — A 22-year-old Oregon man was sentenced Aug. 19 to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution of $2,500 in the 2016 poaching of an endangered gray wolf.
Colton Tony Dick, of Oakridge, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully taking an endangered species in U.S. District Court. As part of a plea agreement, Dick avoided jail time and instead agreed to one year of supervised release. He also forfeited his hunting privileges for one year.
Wolves are still listed as a federally endangered species in Oregon west of highways 395, 78 and 95. The charge normally carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and $100,000 fine.
According to court documents, Dick shot at a wolf that was walking away from him in the Fremont-Winema National Forest on Oct. 5, 2016, using a rifle and scope. Though he did not admit to killing the wolf, it was found dead the next day near Summer Lake.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensic Lab determined the wolf, an adult collared female known as OR-28, died from a single gunshot wound.
Oregon’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan does allow for killing wolves in defense of human life, or if the predators are caught in the act of attacking livestock. But in this case, authorities determined Dick did not have legal justification for shooting.
Dick could not immediately be reached for comment. The government will allow Dick to withdraw his guilty plea and may have the charge dismissed if he complies with the terms of the sentence.