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Olympic National Park elk poacher fined $2,500 for killing trophy bull

Photo of Robert Hurst with the trophy elk he killed in Washington's Olympic National Park.

A poacher was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and sentenced to three years probation and the loss of hunting privileges for the same length of time after pleading guilty to illegally killing a trophy elk in a national park in 2007.

Robert Hurst (pictured), of Woodland, Wash., was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma for hunting, killing and transporting a trophy-sized Roosevelt bull elk from within Olympic National Park.

According to the U.S. attorney's office for the western district of Washington, Hurst, 38, entered the park, called the bull to him by bugling, and then killed it with a bow and arrow. He then field-dressed the elk and packed the animal out over the course of several days.

A hunter outside the park observed Hurst and two companions carrying the elk head. The hunter notified Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, leading agents to make contact with Hurst.

The two-year investigation which led to Hurst's sentence was conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife enforcement program.

I applaud the court for penalizing Hurst for his actions, but the fine seems paltry, considering the time and effort put into the investigation by all agencies involved. Poachers steal resources belonging to others, with potentially damaging consequences, and they tarnish the image of legitimate hunters and conservationists.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Robert Hurst with the trophy elk he killed in Washington's Olympic National Park. Credit: United States attorney's office, western district of Washington.

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Comments (4)

Can you believe the fine is only $2500? That is less than the equipment cost and he keeps his equipment. This is National Park stuff Maybe we could use fine money to keep the park service afloat in the year of Obama. The fine should be enough to stop the practice of poaching, say $100K and five years for willful poaching. However, If I know my federal Government they will lower the poaching fine and raise the camping fee to $2000. Our government usually screws the lawful public and lets lawbreakers off. If the poacher was an illegal they would have fined the reporting hunter for interfering with the feeding of the illegal's family.

Mr. Blott, thank you for your tolerance.
Do you also "tolerate" one of the largest land and sea kill-offs in history, the city of Los Angeles?
The environmental holocaust that is the city of Los Angeles dwarfs all poachers combined.
Every time an LA resident washes their dishes or even takes a drink of water, a fish dies upstream in the Delta.
Every time an LA resident flushes their toilet, an additional fish dies in the ocean at the outfall.
Not to mention the thousands of acres of prime bird and wildlife habitat [some of the best in the state] simply paved over forever, under blacktop as far as the eye can see.

I am not aware of the laws of Washington. Perhaps they are regressed. This guy shot an Elk that he knew was in a protected area and was not prepared to take the meat in a way that prevented spoiling. This is a "Hunter" that does not follow the rules and got a hand slap. As a vegan, I don't not condone hunting for sport and tolerate it to the degree that society believes it needs meat and hunters don't know better. If he was later told it was a protected area, he should be held in contempt of court for not revealing the sources of those that should have reported him. I hope that the town that he lives in reminds him of this every day of his life.

Where do you sign up to bag a trophy like that? 2,500 bucks (no pun intended) and 3 years probation? That is nothing for a guy that really, really, really likes to hunt. I've heard of people spending 5-10,000 dollars for the privilege of bagging a canned hunt for some presumed trophy animal. There are probably 10,000 guys out there right now thinking "If that's all I'm fined it's well worth the risk, besides they would have to catch me first!" They should have fined him a 100 dollars a pound or 10,000 dollars per point on the rack. Maybe they should have fined him for both! And what about the probation? How about 10 years and loss of the right to hunt, period! Send him to jail and he can't get a job to pay the fine! The hunter who called in on him needs to get a medal or a reward!


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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