Sequim man jailed in poaching investigation

Alleged illegal hunts took place in Clallam and Jefferson counties

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man was arrested for investigation of poaching three bears and three deer between June 1 and Sept. 4, 2018, in a series of alleged illegal hunts in 2018 that spanned Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Sixteen illegal hunting charges are contained in a criminal complaint filed Friday against Jason Bradley Hutt, 29, of Sequim.

He will have his first appearance at 1 p.m. today in Clallam County Superior Court, Michele Devlin of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said Sunday in a text message.

The complaint was submitted by Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson and alleges Hutt illegally killed the bear and deer in Clallam County.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy said Monday he’s reviewing additional information that could lead to additional charges against Hutt and an alleged accomplice, Wyatt James Beck, 24, 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.

“My hope is to have it reviewed for charges within a couple of weeks,” Kennedy said.

“[Beck] was referred for charges as well.”

An ongoing investigation could produce additional charges against Hutt, state Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Kit Rosenberger said Monday.

Beck is a suspect in illegal hunts in both counties, he said.

“We are looking for new offenses and also tying up some loose ends on our prior investigation,” Rosenberger said Monday.

“We have probable cause for the charges.

“This case is like an onion. You peel back a layer, and you’ve got more.”

Hutt and Beck denied illegally hunting, according to the probable cause statement.

Hutt was being held without bond Monday in the Clallam County jail.

Clallam County charges could be filed against Hutt at his appearance today or later this week.

Hutt also was jailed on investigation of felony possession of a controlled substance-marijuana-delivery, according to the jail roster.

Information on the drug count was unavailable Monday, and a drug charge was not contained in the criminal complaint.

Roberson could not be reached for comment Monday.

The 12 felonies, three gross misdemeanors and one misdemeanor in the complaint against Hutt include 12 counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game.

The complaint contains additional counts of unlawful hunting on the property of another and waste of wildlife.

Hutt was convicted in 2016 in Clallam County District Court for hunting and killing blacktail deer without tags or licenses.

That makes the unlawful hunting counts felonies, according to the 38-page probable cause statement, the basis for Hutt’s arrest Friday.

The probable cause statement was written by Fish & Wildlife Police Officer Bryan Davidson.

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

The property owner reported one of the kills Aug. 26, 2018.

He had been warned in 2017 to not intentionally feed bears on his property, Davidson said.

“I knew from past experience that the bears around [the property owner’s] residence had been highly concentrated, and of a large size due to being fed by humans, which had attracted the attention of local bear hunters to the area,” Davidson said.

The property owner showed Davidson a photo of a bear carcasses that had been removed by the time Davidson arrived, according to the probable cause statement.

Davidson found a second bear carcass at the top of an embankment close to the property. It is illegal to shoot a bear and leave its carcass.

Hutt and Beck had had a confrontation Aug. 26 with two of the property owner’s neighbors who said the men were carrying handguns in the area.

The men told the couple they were carrying the guns because “there were big bears around that ‘they,’ meaning [the property owner] were feeding,” Davidson said.

Davidson learned two days later that “Jason Hutt was bragging about killing four bears,” Davidson said.

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

The garage contained a freezer with bear parts and two bear hides, according to the probable cause statement.

Hutt told Davidson he was in the area of the bear carcasses but was on state land. He denied illegally hunting or shooting the bears or any big game.

Hutt had purchased a bear license and tag Aug. 26, the day after the bear is believed to have been shot, Davidson said.

Beck also allegedly showed a person named in the probable cause statement a photo on his cellphone of a bear Hutt said he had shot earlier in the season, which had opened Aug. 1.

An associate of Hutt’s provided photos of deer Hutt said he had killed out of season, Davidson said.

Three deer skullcaps and an elk skull were found at a Sequim residence where Hutt had lived that the owner found after Hutt had moved, Davidson said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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