Officials investigate reported case of deer poaching at Washington State Penitentiary

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WALLA WALLA - State wildlife officials are investigating a reported case of deer poaching in a highly unlikely place, the Washington State Penitentiary.

According to Shari Hall, prison spokeswoman, the incident occurred Saturday. It involved a minimum-security inmate who was part of a 10-man crew working in an recycling area at the penitentiary's pheasant farm, which is outside the facility's main perimeter.

A deer, one of a herd of about 20 which roam the area around the pheasant farm, had become entangled in netting. The inmate allegedly killed the animal and cut it up with a box cutter, which work crews members are allowed to use as part of their duties. "Apparently the man was a butcher prior to his incarceration," Hall said.

Hall said she said she did not have information on whether the deer was a buck or a doe.

A confidential source tipped off prison authorities Tuesday to the poaching incident and the investigation is continuing, Hall said. About 15 pounds of venison hidden in plastic garbage bags has been recovered.

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