John McCoy is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette’s award-winning outdoors writer. His "Woods & Waters" page appears weekly in the Sports section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In 32 years of outdoors writing, John has had articles published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, Hatches and other publications. His works have earned more than 50 state, regional and national awards for writing and photography.
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What is it about the water in Terra Alta, W.Va.? A couple of weeks ago, two men from that small town were fined more than $2,400 for poaching a trophy-class deer. Now two other Terra Altans have been ordered to pay more than $5,500 for poaching a black bear.
From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources:
TERRA ALTA, W.Va. – A father and son from Terra Alta, W.Va., have been convicted of several violations of West Virginia’s wildlife laws following a two-week black bear poaching/killing investigation in Preston County.
The investigation was conducted by Natural Resources Police Officer Paul Ferguson after he received information from a confidential informant about a bear poaching. That investigation resulted in the arrest of Arnold Dalton, age 77, and his son Eric Dalton, age 47.
Arnold Dalton was charged with and convicted of illegal possession of a black bear and conspiracy to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia Code (wildlife law). He pled guilty on Nov. 14, 2011. His fines and court cost totaled $ 1,341.60.
Eric Dalton was charged with hunting without a bear stamp, illegally killing a black bear, illegal possession of a black bear, conspiring in a violation of Chapter 20. He pled guilty on Nov. 14, 2011, and his total fines, including court costs and replacement fees, were $4,163.20.
The total fines, court costs and replacement costs assessed in this case were $5,504.80. The subjects may also have their hunting privileges suspended for two years.