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

January 26, 2010 |  3:36 pm

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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