A Washington man was arrested and charged with four gross misdemeanor counts of illegal poaching last week, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife press release.
Kyle O’Brien, 18, faces seven misdemeanor charges related to poaching; four counts of hunting deer during closed season, one count of spotlighting big game, one count of shooting from a road and one count of having a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
WDFW received tips that helped lead to the arrest of O’Brien. On August 2, WDFW Officer Rob McQuary responded to a tip that two mule deer bucks had been shot and killed off Nelms Road in Western Walla Walla County. Upon investigation, McQuary discovered two carcasses with velvet-covered antlers still attached. This prompted McQuary and WDFW Officer Mike Johnson to set up a watch in the surrounding area to see if the shooter came back to claim the antlers.
Well, he did. At about 11 PM that night, O’Brien returned to the location and was seen shining a spotlight into the woods and firing shots from his car. O’Brien fired seven shots in under a few minutes, prompting the officers to stop and question him.
Still think poaching isn’t that big of a deal? A gross misdemeanor carries a whopping $5,000 fine and up to one year in jail, while a plain ol’ misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Also, anyone caught and convicted of poaching can be slapped with criminal wildlife penalties of up to $6,000.
So the next time you plan on going hunting, make sure you not only have the right hunting equipment, hunting knife and LED flashlight, but make sure it’s in season. You’ll be glad you did.