A Bay City man has pled guilty to charges of illegally killing three wolves in Mackinac County in January. William Hayward, 58, also pled guilty to malicious destruction of property for destroying two tracking collars that had been placed on the wolves by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Hayward was sentenced on Monday, Feb. 14, in 92nd District Court in St. Ignace to 365 days in jail, with 90 days to be served immediately and the remaining time suspended if all terms of his 24-month probation are met. Additionally, Hayward was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution for the wolves, $590 for the replacement of the tracking collars and $1,500 in fines and court costs. Hayward’s hunting privileges were also revoked for a period of three years, and the rifle he used to kill the wolves was condemned.
DNRE conservation officers conducted the investigation after locating three dead wolves in northwestern Mackinac County in January that had died from gunshot wounds. Hayward was developed as the suspect, and Mackinac County Prosector Alfred Feleppa reviewed the case and issued the charges against Hayward.
Hayward also faced possible federal charges from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; however an agreement was reached with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that federal charges for these three illegal wolf kills would not be brought if Hayward resolved the matter in state court. Wolves are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and a person may be charged in both state and federal court for illegally killing wolves.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal killing of wolves or any other protected species in Michigan is asked to call the DNRE Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800, 24 hours a day, or contact your nearest DNRE office or conservation officer.