Accused poacher no-show at court

Jason Hutt

Jason Hutt

PORT ANGELES — An arrest warrant has been issued for an alleged big game poacher who is facing 26 illegal hunting charges in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Jason Bradley Hutt did not appear in Clallam County Superior Court for a scheduled arraignment Thursday on eight of those charges.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to 16 illegal hunting violations in Clallam County and two others in Jefferson County.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour issued Thursday a $15,000 bench warrant for Hutt’s arrest.

Sgt. Kit Rosenberger of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said local law enforcement had been alerted to the warrant.

Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Munger said Hutt would be arrested if he is contacted by a deputy.

“We encourage him to turn himself in and appear before the court,” Rosenberger said in a Friday interview.

Anyone with information on Hutt’s whereabouts is asked to phone the Fish and Wildlife’s enforcement program at 1-877-933-9847 (WDFWTIP).

Hutt posted a $10,000 bail bond Sept. 6.

Fish and Wildlife officers alleged that Hutt and an accomplice — Wyatt James Beck — illegally killed several bears, deer and elk in Clallam and Jefferson counties in the summer of 2018.

The eight new charges against Hutt stem from discovery of an illegally-hunted or illegally-possessed river otter pelt, bobcat pelt and harlequin duck carcass that were found at Hutt’s residence Aug. 30.

It is illegal to possess a bobcat pelt or otter pelt without a Fish and Wildlife-approved identification seal, Fish and Wildlife Officer Bryan Davidson said in court papers.

Hutt was convicted of hunting and killing black-tail deer without tags or licenses in 2016.

Davidson said in court papers that Hutt collected elk and deer heads as trophies.

Rosenberger has said the case was the largest poaching investigation that his department had seen in recent years.

Hutt was originally charged Aug. 26 in Clallam County Superior Court with 12 counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, two counts of first-degree unlawful transportation of wildlife and single counts of waste of wildlife and unlawful hunting on the property of another.

He and Beck were each charged in Jefferson County Superior Court on Sept. 6 with two counts of first-degree accomplice to unlawful hunting of big game for the alleged poaching of two elk in the Brinnon area last year.

Hutt was charged Sept. 27 in Clallam County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, three counts of second-degree hunting of wild animals or wild birds, two counts of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm and one count of unlawful carrying of a firearm.

Beck, also of Sequim, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, two counts of first-degree unlawful transportation of wildlife and single counts of waste of wildlife and unlawful hunting on the property of another.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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