Poaching accomplice sentenced to community service

Sequim man aided illegal hunts in Clallam, Jefferson counties

PORT ANGELES — An accomplice to alleged big-game poacher Jason B. Hutt has been sentenced to community service for his role in illegal hunts in 2018.

Wyatt J. Beck, 24, of Sequim pleaded guilty Thursday to four counts of second-degree unlawful hunting of big game with accomplice liability.

He was sentenced to 240 hours of community service work and 30 days on electronic home monitoring. He also was ordered to pay $8,000 in fines, according to the minutes of the sentencing hearing.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour imposed the sentence as recommended by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson and defense attorney Ben Critchlow of Port Townsend.

Beck was ordered to complete the community service in lieu of 30 days in jail, court papers said.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife alleged that Beck helped Hutt poach three bears and three deer in Clallam County — and two elk in Jefferson County — in the summer of 2018.

Beck was originally charged in Clallam County Superior Court with 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.

In Jefferson County, Beck pleaded guilty Friday to one count of second-degree unlawful hunting of big game and was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution for two elk that were slain in the Brinnon area in 2018, Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy said.

“He was also ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and hunter safety class,” Kennedy said Friday.

Hutt, 29, also of Sequim, has pleaded not guilty to 26 illegal hunting charges in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Hutt was charged in Clallam County Superior Court last August 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 with two counts of first-degree accomplice to unlawful hunting of big game for the poaching of the two elk.

Hutt also was charged in Clallam County Superior Court last September 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.

The additional charges against Hutt stemmed 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.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Kit Rosenberger has said the case was the largest poaching investigation he could recall in recent years.

Hutt is scheduled for a March 23 trial in Clallam County Superior Court.

He was released from the Clallam County jail on his own recognizance last October but did not appear for a Jan. 16 court hearing, Superior Court records show.

A $20,000 bench warrant was issued for Hutt on Jan. 16.

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

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