Jason Hutt appears by video link during his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court on Tuesday. Judge Brent Basden is shown in the video inset. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Jason Hutt appears by video link during his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court on Tuesday. Judge Brent Basden is shown in the video inset. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Bail set in Clallam County for accused poacher

Man also under investigation in Jefferson County

PORT ANGELES — Bail was set at $10,000 Tuesday for a Sequim man accused of poaching three bears and three deer in a series of illegal hunts in 2018.

Jason Bradley Hutt, 29, will be arraigned on 16 unlawful hunting charges Friday, Sept. 13.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife alleged that Hutt illegally killed the bears and deer in Clallam County between June 1 and Sept. 4, 2018.

Hutt also is being investigated for the illegal hunting of two bull elk killed in the Brinnon area last year.

Hutt was charged in Clallam County Superior Court on Aug. 27 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.

First-degree unlawful hunting of big game is a Class C felony.

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols requested a $75,000 bail for Hutt at his initial court appearance Tuesday.

“Frankly, this is arguably one of, if not the most, high-profile game case that I recall in our county’s history,” Nichols said.

“I just ask that it be treated with appropriate weight by the court in that regard.”

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden set Hutt’s bail at $10,000 based on Hutt’s past violations of the state’s game code.

In addition to the bail and a hunting prohibition, Hutt was ordered to stay at his residence under curfew from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“Some of the concerns in this case stem from hunting occurring at nighttime,” Nichols said.

Hutt was convicted in 2016 of hunting and killing blacktail deer without tags or licenses, giving rise to the first-degree hunting of big game charges.

James Kennedy, Jefferson County prosecuting attorney, told the Peninsula Daily News on Monday that he was reviewing additional information that could lead to more charges against Hutt and an alleged accomplice, Wyatt James Beck, 24.

The Jefferson County investigation is related to the illegal hunting of two bull elk killed in the Brinnon area whose carcasses were found in mid-August and early September 2018, court papers said.

Kennedy said he expected to make charging decisions “within a couple of weeks.”

Hutt and Beck denied that they hunted illegally, according to a 38-page probable cause affidavit written by state Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer Bryan Davidson.

“This case is quite remarkable in the grand scheme of fish and wildlife game cases that come before this court, your honor,” Nichols told Basden.

“Mr. Hutt stands apart from past defendants with respect to not only the number of allegations, but the substance of them.

“In short, he is charged with 16 counts of criminal violations of the state’s game code,” Nichols added.

“This amounts, as it were, to a reign of terror as to our natural resource.”

Hutt is accused of a series of tag violations, using improper caliber ammunition, wasting black bear carcasses, hunting on the property of others and unlawful transport of wildlife, Nichols said.

Two bears were killed last summer on private property in the 1700 block of Lost Mountain Road southwest of Sequim, Davidson said in the affidavit.

Davidson, who attended the Tuesday court hearing with state Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Kit Rosenberger and another game officer, learned that Hutt was “bragging about killing four bears,” the affidavit said.

A family member also said that Hutt had a bear and three dear hanging in his garage.

The garage contained a freezer with bear parts and two bear hides, court papers said.

“This continued course of conduct, the state takes the position, demonstrates that [Hutt] has absolutely no regard for the laws or the rules or the rights of others, or any regard for the wildlife resources of the state of Washington,” Nichols said.

“His personal goals and his greed precipitated the killing spree that gives rise to the charges in this case.”

Hutt was charged in a separate case with one count of possession of a controlled substance. He will be arraigned in both cases at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Defense attorney Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender noted that Hutt had a history of appearing in court as directed.

“We’re asking that the gentleman be released on his own recognizance,” Gasnick said.

Hutt, who appeared with Gasnick from a video conference room in the Clallam County jail, said he would attempt to post bail.

“I’ll give up everything I have,” Hutt said.

“I don’t care. I just want to be able to take care of my grandmother and see my girlfriend.”

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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