WA: Photos incriminate hunter in bear baiting case
April 29, 2012
By Rich Landers, Spokesman.com
A Pierce County man built a picture-perfect case – against
himself and others – to help prosecutors file charges on more than
40 counts involving baiting and killing black bears at his Okanogan
Photographs seized from his motion-activated
trail camera left little to the imagination of law enforcement
“The photos show suspects putting the bait with
their cabin in the background while others show the bears coming in
to the bait,” said Sgt. James Brown, Washington Fish and Wildlife
Department police officer in Okanogan County.
together a case our officers have been working on since they started
getting complaints about six years ago. The case report runs 300
James Erickson, 52, of Eatonville, Wash., was
arraigned last week on charges of using bait to lure bears, unlawful
big-game hunting, unlawful transport, spotlighting and possession of
stolen property among other things in the past two years. Several
other friends or family members also are involved.
statewide initiative banned bear baiting in 1996.
Wildlife police have evidence that Erickson had hauled restaurant
scraps and salmon to his property in the Methow Valley’s Rendezvous
area. Bears couldn’t resist coming in to the stinking food pile.
Brown said officers had received tips for years indicating
Erickson welcomed Western Washington residents who used the cabin as
a base for big-game violations.
“It was common knowledge
among people who lived in the area that illegal hunting activity
with bears and deer was going on out of that cabin,” Brown said. “We
regularly got complaints.
“We even assigned an undercover
officer who made contact with the suspects. They would brag to
him about some of their exploits.
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