SPOKANE, Wash. — The director of the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) North Central Region is accused of poaching, according to recently unveiled court documents that were sent to KREM 2 by Washington Wildlife First advocacy group.
Brock Hoenes is charged with one count of second-degree unlawful hunting of big game, as well as a violation of closed season/closed area/any rule governing the hunting of big game.
According to documents, Hoenes violated rules of the Fish and Wildlife Commission "regarding seasons, bag or possession limits, closed areas including game reserves, closed times, or any other rule governing the hunting, taking, or possession of big game" on Nov. 13, 2021.
If convicted, Hoenes could face a maximum of one year in jail, a $5,000 fine or both.
In September 2021, Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy released a performance audit titled "Assessing the Workplace Culture at the Department of Fish and Wildlife". The report revealed that 10% of those who were spoken to indicated they had witnessed a DFW employee "commit legal or ethical violations" in the past year.
Some of the examples given included:
- Unethical use or issuance of untracked hunting permits between managers
- Allowing the over-harvesting of game
- Mismanagement of funds through inaccurate record-keeping or nontransparent data. Several people, in separate interviews, said that when they brought the mismanagement of funds or data issues to the attention of management, they were told to “leave it alone.”
- Unethical hiring or promotion practices exhibiting favoritism. Examples included hiring an employee’s family member, hiring someone unqualified, or rewriting a job description to fit a specific person
In an email sent out to staff, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind said an investigation was conducted by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement and charges were referred to the Ferry County prosecutor, who ultimately filed charges.
Susewind also said Hoenes called WDFW Enforcement and reported himself.
An investigation was conducted by WDFW Enforcement and charges were referred to the Ferry County prosecutor who has since filed charges.
"I am monitoring the court proceedings and it is important that the legal process play out," Susewind said in the email. "Brock has discussed this incident with his regional management team and others. Please provide Brock space to address this important matter; more information will be shared when it is appropriate to do so."