COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A northern Idaho man says he will take his chances with a jury rather than pay a $200 fine for shooting a wolf without a hunting tag.
“It's going to be really hard to find a jury in North Idaho that finds me guilty for shooting a wolf to save my stinking dogs,” Forrest Mize told The Coeur d'Alene Press in a story Wednesday.
Mize, 53, faces a misdemeanor charge of possessing a wolf without a tag, not for the shooting of the wolf.
Mize said he was hiking with his pets last month when they came upon the wolf. Mize said he feared the animal was about to attack, so he shot it with the gun he was carrying for protection.
He said he decided he wanted to keep the pelt, and so he bought a hunting tag and took the carcass to a taxidermist.
But wildlife officials say it's illegal to shoot a wolf without a tag and then buy a tag afterward. Authorities said Mize should have simply reported shooting the wolf and the circumstances involved.
Because Mize didn't have a valid tag when he killed the wolf, wildlife officials confiscated the pelt, which can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Mize turned down Kootenai County prosecutors' offer Tuesday of a $200 fine if he pleads guilty.
“I did the right thing, I just did it in the wrong order,” Mize said. “I'm not going to buy a tag (in advance), because I don't hunt for wolves.”
Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh confirmed the offer was made.
Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com