Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club decoys are stolen

June 25, 2013

By Joe Grove

Life-sized animal decoys essential to the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club’s hunter education program were stolen between June 7 and 13 from the gated, fenced-in area surrounding the club lodge.

The decoys included three deer, a bear, an antelope and a coyote used in a field exercise for animal identification and shoot/don’t shoot exercises critical to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Hunter Safety Program. All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, are required to take the course to obtain a hunting license.

The decoys are used for about 14 classes a year. They are set up in the forest around the club’s lodge, and as students walk the course and spot the decoy, they must determine whether it is an animal they can legally shoot in a place they can legally shoot it. If so, they raise their dummy weapon for a shot.

Tom Mechler, instructor club agent and board member, said they store the decoys during the winter, but set them out for the first course each year and leave them out. He said they have been doing that for 12 years with no problems. The field is fenced with a 6-foot chain-link fence that has a locked gate.

He said he discovered the theft when he went to prepare for his most recent class, and he had to come up with a makeshift way to do the field course. He said he will next need the decoys July 15.

Mechler said he is not interested in prosecuting whoever took the decoys. He just wants them back, because they are so important to the class.

“If someone took them and put them in a yard for a prank, just give us a call and let us get them back, no questions asked,” he said. “If somebody sees one in a yard somewhere, just give us a call.”

Mechler said the decoys are valued at about $800, which is less than the club’s insurance deductible, so the club will have to absorb the loss.


how to help

If you know anything about the theft of the decoys or if you can help the club pay for new ones, call Tom Mechler at 255-0922 or email him at


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