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Wracked with Guilt, Man Sends Wildlife Officials $6,000 for Illegally Hunting Deer 40 Years Ago

Wracked with Guilt, Man Sends Wildlife Officials $6,000 for Illegally Hunting Deer 40 Years Ago

Written by Stephen Messenger

It’s no secret that poaching can have devastating impacts on protected wildlife. But, as it turns out, the human heart which commits this crime might sometimes be the slowest to recover from its own misdeed.

A few weeks back, officials from Washington State’s Fish and Wildlife Department received a curious correspondence from a Montana man, identified simply as Roy, who was hoping to make amends for a crime he’d committed more than four decades earlier.

In his letter to wildlife officials, Roy confessed to illegally hunting three whitetail deer between 1967 and 1970, a crime which had continued to weigh heavy on his conscience for over forty years. In his reply, officer Richard Mann assured Roy that the statute of limitations had passed and that he was no longer subject to a fine — but the man’s feelings of guilt weren’t so easily quelled by his immunity from prosecution.

From The Spokesman-Review:

The officer suggested he could sign up with the agency for volunteer jobs at a wildlife area or habitat project to soothe his conscience, but Roy said he lived in Montana.

Last week, Mann got a message from the department’s Olympia headquarters that a $6,000 check had been delivered as a donation to the enforcement division.

“I was amazed,” Mann said. “It’s not uncommon for me to hear from people who are sorry for a wildlife infraction, but usually it’s because the judge stuck them with a big fine.”

Along with the check, Roy asked for forgiveness from the Wildlife Department, requesting that the money be used to prevent crimes like the one he himself committed all those years ago.

Mike Cenci, deputy chief of enforcement for the department says that he’s never seen someone feel so compelled to donate out of remorse for past wildlife crimes: “

This doesn’t happen. We do get donations, but if any were related to misdeeds or conscience, we’re not aware of it.”

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.


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Photo: kkirugi/flickr

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1:42PM PST on Feb 15, 2014


8:29PM PST on Feb 12, 2014

Does he suffer from any guilt or regret for hunting during hunting season?

8:23PM PST on Feb 12, 2014

It took 40 years to realize he took innocent lives? I'm soooooo impressed. Sorry for being sarcastic but it sounds like the guilt was for hunting illegally so he'll pay the fine to make things right. Good for him! I didn't see anything about being sorry for taking the lives of innocent creatures.

11:21AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

It took him a long time to grow up something i wish all hunters would do whether they are legal or not I would rather have the animals on the earth than these people
Still better late than never Hope they will use the money to some good for wildlife

12:41PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Wow. It doesn't bring back the life he took, but at least that life came back to teach him.

9:59AM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Well, I know that the older I've gotten, the more I've been able to look at stupid acts from my youth in a different light, so I'm going to cut this guy a bit of slack. He probably would have been better to support a wildlife protection group, but he had broken this particular agency's laws, and wanted to make amends. Most people just go oops, and keep on trucking, so it took some courage for him to do what he did.

12:25AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

Before I feel all warm and fuzzy about this guy I want to know if he feels shame for killing the deer and never hunted again or did he feel bad because he broke the law and really didn't feel sorry for the deer at all and just continued hunting legally through the years.

2:57PM PST on Jan 29, 2014

I'm guessing Roy learned to view Nature in a different way.

8:22AM PST on Jan 29, 2014

Good for Roy!!

7:18PM PDT on May 19, 2013

It took him 40 years??What,is he on his death bed??

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