When a poacher apologizes, it’s usually before a judge who is about to throw the book at him. But a Montana man who illegally shot three whitetail does more than 40 seasons ago not only turned himself in, he forked over a fine no one asked him to pay. According this story by Rich Landers, the man contacted the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department recently and confessed to shooting the deer during the 1969 and 1970 hunting seasons.
Capt. Richard Mann, with the enforcement division of WFWD, informed the Montana man–whom Mann refers to only as “Roy”–that the statute of limitations for the offense had run out years ago, and encouraged him to consider volunteer service to the department if his conscience still bothered him. Distance made volunteering problematic, so Roy wrote the WDFW a $6,000 check instead. The maximum penalty for poaching antlerless deer in Washington right now is close to $2,000 per animal.
Roy asked that the money be used specifically for WDFW enforcement activities, and wrote in a letter: “My conscience has not allowed me to put this sin to rest until now. I know God has forgiven me and I hope that WDFW will as well.”
Even the most naive student of human nature knows that good people can sometimes do bad things. But very few of them are willing to take responsibility for actions that occurred so long ago they nearly qualify as ancient history. Roy reminds us that there is no statute of limitations on your conscience, and that it is rarely too late to right a wrong.