Mason County Elk Hunters Held at GunpointOctober 23rd, 2009 by josh farley
Some elk hunters from Shelton recently “found themselves staring down the barrels of guns pointed at them by uniformed officers of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe,” earlier this month, according to a story in the Port Townsend Leader.
Reporters Barney Burke and Allison Arthur wrote Oct. 7 that the hunters, using muzzleloaders (an antique style firearm) were on private property in Brinnon between Highway 101 and the Hood Canal, and had permission from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to hunt elk.
But the officers thought the men were hunting illegally — and took out their own guns in investigating. The hunters were handcuffed two hours.
The misunderstanding was eventually cleared up, but left the hunters “upset and angry,” the story says.
I spoke with Karl Gilje, chief of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Department of Public Safety, this morning. He said that the investigating officers in the case were under the tribe’s department of natural resources, and not under his public safety department. They do sometimes assist one another at times, Gilje said, but not during the incident Oct. 3.
A full investigation is underway in the case by the state department of fish and wildlife and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Peninsula Daily News.