Poaching trial set on 16 counts

Two men accused in Jefferson, Clallam

PORT ANGELES — A December trial has been set for a Sequim man accused of poaching several bears and deer in a series of illegal hunts last year.

Jason Bradley Hutt, 29, pleaded not guilty Friday to 16 illegal hunting charges as well as one count of possession of methamphetamine in a separate case.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour scheduled a Dec. 9 trial in the poaching case and a Nov. 25 trial for the drug possession case.

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 accused of hunting illegally in Jefferson County last September.

In the Clallam County case, 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.

He pleaded not guilty to 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.

“It’s a large poaching case,” Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Kit Rosenberger said in a Friday interview.

“It involved a lot of our time, but the amount of animals he is alleged to have killed is quite a few. It’s really impactful to our natural resources.”

Hutt also has been charged with illegal hunting of two bull elk killed in the Brinnon area last year with an alleged accomplice, Wyatt James Beck.

Most of the meat was removed from one elk carcass that was found near Brinnon School.

“The second one was killed nearby on private property,” Rosenberger said.

“Only the head was taken. The rest was left to rot.”

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy filed charges against Hutt and Beck on Sept. 6.

Each was charged with two counts of first-degree accomplice to unlawful hunting of big game.

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.

Beck, also of Sequim, was 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 single counts of waste of wildlife and unlawful hunting on the property of another.

Beck was ordered to appear in Clallam County Superior Court on Sept. 27.

Meanwhile, Rosenberger said he submitted an additional affidavit for probable cause that could lead to more charges against Hutt in Clallam County.

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Roberson said he would consider filing new charges against Hutt this week.

Roberson would not provide the affidavit Friday but said the new allegation “appears to be hunting related.”

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

Roberson told the court that the Hutt’s trial in poaching case would take “at least a week” to complete.

“There’s quite a few witnesses and experts,” Roberson said.

Defense attorney Harry Gasnick said there may be motions to sever the 16 counts of illegal hunting.

“We may not be looking at one trial,” Gasnick 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 in Clallam County.

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

At his initial court appearance Sept. 3, Hutt was ordered to maintain a curfew at his residence from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols had requested the curfew out of concern that the alleged illegal hunts occurred at night.

Hutt on Friday asked Coughenour to extend the curfew to 8 p.m. to allow him time to travel home from side jobs he works in the construction industry.

“It’s hard to be back exactly at 5,” Hutt said.

“I just don’t want to get in trouble, your honor.”

Coughenour said he would allow Hutt’s curfew to be extended from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Hutt has a status hearing scheduled for Oct. 10.

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

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