Hey, Let’s Go Shoot Us A Pet Deer!

Late yesterday afternoon, while working on a story about a poacher who may have killed more than 100 big-game animals (he reportedly pled guilty to five), I asked a game warden what the hell was wrong with people.

“The answer you seek is best answered by a psychologist,” came the reply.

With that I dove into the latest newsletter from the Oregon State Police’s Fish & Wildlife Division, and now suspect that not even psychologists could help me — or the accused.

Take the trophy lust that last September led to the deaths of 7×10, 7×6 and 6×6 bull elk, each of which comes with a $15,000 fine and a three-year-to-lifetime hunting license revocations if the suspects are found guilty.

The biggest was allegedly shot on a Northeast Oregon ranch and scored 370+, according to OSP. They cited a suspect in Hermiston for Taking Branched Antlered Elk Closed Season (Rifle), Waste of a Game Mammal, Criminal Trespass II, and Hunting on the Enclosed Lands of Another while his father was ticketed for  Criminal Trespass II and Hunting on the Enclosed Lands of Another.

ALLEGEDLY POACHED 7X10 BULL ELK. (OREGON STATE POLICE)

On the fishing front, there’s the asshat who bagged a whopping six citations for allegedly snagging Chinook on the Clackamas. He was hit with:

Exceeding Daily Catch Limit of Chinook Salmon

Borrowing a Harvest Card

Continuing to Angle After Catching a Daily Limit of Chinook Salmon

Unlawful Take of Chinook Salmon—Snagging x 2

Aiding in a Wildlife Violation

Fail To Immediately Validate Harvest Card

Good show, Billy Bob, finally topped your momma’s record!

His pair of pards that day rang up a total of five more citations, and two other Clacka-clowns racked up four apiece as well.

Then there’s the woman on a public pier in Newport who, when approached by Senior Trooper Carla Urbigkeit, allegedly tried to flush a grocery bag full of crabs down the toilet. Who knows how many the harbormaster had to suck out of the pipes, but the woman and her getaway driver allegedly had a cooler with 81 Dungeness — of which all but two were illegal to keep because of size and sex restrictions.

Over on Big Creek, desperate poachers tried to catch Chinook with, err, rocks and “long aluminum poles with treble hooks taped to the ends.”

Down on the Salmon River, some guy spotted trying to get a “boat bite” going for shore anglers by zipping around the hole was cited for harassing wildlife while numerous anglers up and down the coast were allegedly caught with wild coho. Back on the Clackamas, one person tried some freelance adipose fin surgery on a native silver; he was cited for unlawful possession as well as lack of a 2010 angling tag.

In Central Oregon, a pair of “heavily armed and intoxicated subjects” were stopped after allegedly driving around and shooting small squirrels from their vehicles.

But perhaps the most boneheaded stunts the September newsletter talks about are the yo-yos who decided to go “hunting” for bucks in the ‘burbs. To wit:

LET’S SHOOT US A PET DEER!

Tpr. Stone (Roseburg) cited a Sutherlin man for Hunting Prohibited Area (inside city limits), while Sutherlin PD cited a juvenile subject for Criminal Trespass.

Several neighbors observed the subjects hunting essentially “pet” deer in their yards without permission, until they claimed to have wounded a buck then asked permission to retrieve it.

Both subjects were not honest about the events, and a wounded deer was not found. The adult lost 12 arrows over a two-day period.

GONNA GET ME ONE OF THOSE TOWNIE SPIKE BUCKS!

Tpr. O’Connor (Astoria) received a tip that a subject shot a deer with a bow within the city limits of Warrenton.

O’Connor spoke to neighbors, and one reported a subject contacted them indicating he had a deer down on their property and asked for permission to retrieve it. O’Connor and Sr. Tpr. Klepp (Astoria) contacted the suspect. The suspect admitted to shooting the deer within the city limits.

The troopers cited the suspect for Hunting/Take of Deer Closed Area—Within Incorporated City Limits and seized the spike deer head and several packages of deer meat.

I THINK I GOT A SHOT AT ‘IM FROM THE BACK PORCH

Sr. Tpr. Love (Bend) assisted Bend PD with three subjects who shot two bucks in the city limits. The three subjects shot two large bucks feeding in their backyard with bows.

The bucks ran onto neighboring properties, and the homeowners called police. Bend PD turned the case over to Love who cited the subjects for Taking Deer Closed Area—Within City Limits and seized the archery equipment and deer.

I WUZ JUST TRYIN’ TO GET THE BUCK I WOUNDED ELSEWHERE, OFFICER

While working the Hoodoo area, Sgt. Martin (Springfield) received a report of a subject who shot a deer within the city limits of Sisters with a bow, loaded the deer, and fled on Hwy 20.

When contacted, the driver admitted to shooting the deer within the city limits, but he stated he wounded it earlier and wanted to recover it.

Martin cited the suspect for Unlawful Taking of Deer within City Limits and seized and donated the four-point buck to the Eugene Mission. Sr. Tpr. McCool (Patrol) and Black Butte PD Officer Lane assisted.

I THINK I GOT A SHOT AT ‘IM FROM THE FRONT PORCH

Sr. Tpr. Bean (Gilchrist) assisted Deschutes County SO with a complaint of a subject who shot a deer inside the city limits of La Pine.

When Bean arrived, the deer was still in the back of the suspect’s vehicle. The resident shot the buck in his own front yard with a bow. Bean cited him for Hunting within the City Limits.

poaching 

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Cenci, Mike (DFW)
I rewrote some of this, no way to make it a short story. Thought you might wa…
Dec 10 (4 days ago)
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Cenci, Mike (DFW)

to andy

show details 4:56 PM (15 hours ago)

Zero tribal link – and the answer you seek is best answered by a psychologist …………….but it may have something to do with being sick in the head.

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 4:54 PM

– Show quoted text –
To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching
– Show quoted text –

 

What the hell is wrong with people?!?

Any tribal link whatsoever?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:53 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

For the most part, he took the heads, and after he brought them home, he decided whether they measured up to trophy and retention potential. If not, then they were discarded in the pond. Meat was sometimes taken, but generally, he was just interested in killing. He is from Grays Harbor………will check on town and age – but is in his 20’s.

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 4:37 PM


To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching

 

And what did Stearns do with the animals he poached? Meat? Trophy heads? Just wasted them?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Andy Walgamott <awalgamott@media-inc.com> wrote:

Do you have an age and hometown for this perp?

 

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

Grappling hook. Here’ another one fresh from the field:

WDFW Police participated in a joint operation with Oregon State Police that was planned and coordinated by Officer Horn.  Operation “Guiding Light” was the culmination of a two month long joint investigation between WDFW and OSP into a local, unlicensed fishing guide whom Officer Horn had learned about from an anonymous source. In addition to the illegal guiding operation, the suspect was perpetrated in several big game hunting violations.  The operation centered around two undercover officers participating in a guided fishing trip on the Columbia River above McNary Dam.  Support teams included a marked patrol vessel on the water observing the fishermen, a take-down team standing by at the boat launch and multiple interview teams conducting simultaneous door knocks at different locations.  The operation went smoothly resulting in the suspect admitting to guiding for game fish on the Columbia River without a license or coast guard certificate.  At that point, the investigation quickly transitioned to the possible big game hunting violations.  A full confession was obtained regarding multiple unlawfully harvested deer and elk in Columbia and Chelan counties.  Multiple subjects were interviewed in connection with the case resulting in evidence and statements implicating the suspect and additional suspects being identified.  Due to a past history of big game violations, several of the recent big game charges will be filed as felonies.   Approximately 20-25 fishing and hunting violations will be referred on multiple subjects to the Prosecutor’s Office in Benton, Columbia and Chelan Counties for consideration of charges.  Oregon State Police and WDFW Police often collaborate on investigations involving violations in our border country.

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 3:32 PM


To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching

 

So how did “Officer James and Alexander searched a local pond” — with scuba gear or just wading around?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 3:14 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

Yes – it’s part of the submission

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 3:05 PM
To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching

 

Mike, Are you sending that to The Reel News for their Jan issue?

On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 9:49 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

I rewrote some of this, no way to make it a short story. Thought you might want to use it. No one has it yet.

Poachers Killing Spree Ends With Jail: In October of 2006-WDFW Sgt. Nixon and Officer James receive independent information from informants that James Cody Stearns and Johnny Boggs poached an elk in the Charlie Creek area with modern firearm during Muzzle loader season and that none of the Stearns are muzzle loaders.  Honest sportsmen had been telling us these guys were problems for a long time, and we finally caught up with them. This was the first of several cases concerning Cody Stearns over the course of several years.

ELK INVESTIGATION: Sgt. Nixon and Officer James located poached elk remains off the Charlie Creek Main line and processed the evidence.  Officer James contacted the Stearns at their residence and checked the elk.  Officer James is told that Cody’s mother Tina killed the elk and he notices a muzzle loader tag on the animal.  While discussing the elk with Tina, Officer James learns the elk was killed at approximately 1200 hours and was told that her son Cody and his friend Johnny Boggs helped drag the animal out and processed it.  After exhaustive investigation of the case, Officer James was able to obtain a search warrant of the Stearns’ residence based on Tina’s statement of killing the elk around noon and documented evidence that she purchased the tag around 4:00 P.M. later that same day.

The search warrant was successful, the elk recovered, two firearms forfeited, and officers obtained confessions from Cody Stearns, Johnny Boggs and Tina Stearns of their involvement in the poaching.  The statements from the subjects determined that Stearns and friend Johnny Boggs killed the elk in the early afternoon of the Muzzle loader season while “Bear Hunting”, and then called Cody’s mother Tina who obtained a Muzzle loader tag to cover the elk.  All suspects were convicted of the poaching; Cody and Tina Stearns had their hunting privileges revoked for their participation in the unlawful purchase and use of the tag.  Cody was indignant throughout the case and showed no remorse for the poaching, only that he was caught.

DEER POACHING NOVEMBER , 2006: In November of 2006, Officer James assisted Officer Jeff Wickersham with a deer poaching in the North River area.  Officer Wickersham developed information that Cody Stearns and E.J. Bates had illegally killed a deer and left it to waste in a landowner’s field.  Officer Wickersham was able to obtain a warrant for a rifle matching the .243 round found at the scene.  Officer James and other officers assisted Officer Wickersham in the recovery and eventual forfeiture of the rifle.  Stearns was not charged with hunting while revoked due to the revocation not being imposed as the previous elk case was still in the court system at the time of the deer poaching, less than a month after the elk poaching.  Cody was eventually revoked from obtaining any hunting licenses for two years until May 22, 2009.

DEER POACHING OCTOBER, 2008: In October of 2008, Officer James received information from Ocean Shores Police regarding their contact and arrest of Cody Stearns and Joel Shaw hunting within the city limits of Ocean Shores in Grays Harbor County.  The Officer contacted Stearns and Shaw who admitted to spotlighting deer.  Stearns at the time had been convicted of a felony and was under a department hunting revocation.  In the Ocean Shores Police report, Officer James noticed there was a brief reference to blood and deer hair in the back of the truck, which was explained away by Shaw by claiming it was his girlfriends deer she got earlier in the day.  Officer James and Sgt. Nixon followed the case up with an interview of Shaw.

Shaw explained he and Stearns had taken his girlfriend hunting that day and helped her get a deer somewhere in the East Humtulips area.  Shaw showed officers the head from the deer and his girlfriends tag.  Through further interviewing Shaw described how Stearns had directed him and his girlfriend to the Humptulips area inside the 3200 road closure and how Stearns participated in the killing of the deer.  The deer head was confiscated and a new investigation was opened on Stearns for hunting while revoked.  Stearns was eventually charged and found guilty in a jury trial to “Hunting while revoked, and Felony Possession of a Firearm” and sentenced to Nine months in Grays Harbor County Jail along with a $2,000 Civil Wildlife Penalty and court costs.

Officer James continued his investigation into Stearns involvement with the killing of a Cougar Shaw was bragging about killing in September.  Shaw said Stearns was with him hunting at the time, but did not kill it because he did not have a shot on the cat.  Further investigation revealed Shaw’s Cougar tag was purchased after killing the cat and Officer James obtained a warrant to search Shaw’s residence.  The warrant produced several significant evidence items including the confession of Shaws participation and involvement with several elk slaughtered in the North River GMU.  Shaw eventually confessed to hunting with Stearns over the past few months, while Stearns was revoked, and killing several deer, elk, bear, and a cougar.  The warrant provided several photographs of Stearns with multiple deer heads, bear, and the Cougar Shaw earlier claimed he had killed.  While investigating this case Officer James received information in January of 2009 regarding Stearns being arrested for driving while drivers license revoked in Cosmopolis, Wa Grays Harbor County.

Officer James obtained a copy of the arrest report and observed an admission by Stearns and his accomplice Levi Stevens to the investigating officer that they were on their way home from hunting in the North River area.  Officer James followed up the information by contacting the investigating officer and obtained Stearns’ vehicle description and license number.  Based on other investigative facts, Officer James spent several weeks tracking Stearns hunting activities in various locations of Grays Harbor County.  In March, after exhaustive investigation, Officer James was able to organize several officers and arrest Stearns while in the field actively hunting in the Humptulips area.  Stearns was arrested and booked into jail for Felony weapons and hunting violations.

Officer James continued his earlier hunting investigations against Stearns and was able to gain the assistance of Shaw in locating several remains of the deer Stearns killed or assisted in the killing of over the past year.  Officer James and Alexander searched a local pond used by Stearns to discard the heads of his illegal animals and retrieved several deer and elk heads as well as bear parts described as illegally taken by Shaw.  Officer James completed his investigation and provided Grays Harbor Prosecutors with a case in which Stearns was involved in the illegal killing of more than twenty big game animals.

Based on the strength of the case and evidence provided and to avoid being charged for another felony weapons violation, Stearns plead guilty to five Gross Misdemeanors in the poaching of five deer as well as other violations in November, 2010.  Stearns was sentenced to one year in jail for each count, court costs, and assessed $10,000 dollars in Fish and Wildlife civil penalties.  Stearns has since been revoked from hunting for life by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.    Although unable to develop probable cause, it is suspected that Stearns has been involved with the taking of well over a hundred big game animals over the past few years.  Much credit needs to be given to the team work involved in the lengthy investigation by WDFW officers in Detachment 2.  This case was hard fought and it took a total team effort in the successful investigation and prosecution of Stearns, whom most likely will continue to poach in the future.

 

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

Reply
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Cenci, Mike (DFW)

to andy

show details 4:59 PM (15 hours ago)

The heads were peripherally important…………the evidence was essentially mounted through co-defendant and suspect admissions. When he was taken down the last time, it was because of superior surveillance techniques and the use of technology. The pond is unnamed, but will get a location

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 4:56 PM

– Show quoted text –
To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching
– Show quoted text –

 

Did your guys pulling heads out of pond basically make the case here (i.e. the physical evidence? And what’s the name of the pond?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:53 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

For the most part, he took the heads, and after he brought them home, he decided whether they measured up to trophy and retention potential. If not, then they were discarded in the pond. Meat was sometimes taken, but generally, he was just interested in killing. He is from Grays Harbor………will check on town and age – but is in his 20’s.

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 4:37 PM


To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching

 

And what did Stearns do with the animals he poached? Meat? Trophy heads? Just wasted them?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Andy Walgamott <awalgamott@media-inc.com> wrote:

Do you have an age and hometown for this perp?

 

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

Grappling hook. Here’ another one fresh from the field:

WDFW Police participated in a joint operation with Oregon State Police that was planned and coordinated by Officer Horn.  Operation “Guiding Light” was the culmination of a two month long joint investigation between WDFW and OSP into a local, unlicensed fishing guide whom Officer Horn had learned about from an anonymous source. In addition to the illegal guiding operation, the suspect was perpetrated in several big game hunting violations.  The operation centered around two undercover officers participating in a guided fishing trip on the Columbia River above McNary Dam.  Support teams included a marked patrol vessel on the water observing the fishermen, a take-down team standing by at the boat launch and multiple interview teams conducting simultaneous door knocks at different locations.  The operation went smoothly resulting in the suspect admitting to guiding for game fish on the Columbia River without a license or coast guard certificate.  At that point, the investigation quickly transitioned to the possible big game hunting violations.  A full confession was obtained regarding multiple unlawfully harvested deer and elk in Columbia and Chelan counties.  Multiple subjects were interviewed in connection with the case resulting in evidence and statements implicating the suspect and additional suspects being identified.  Due to a past history of big game violations, several of the recent big game charges will be filed as felonies.   Approximately 20-25 fishing and hunting violations will be referred on multiple subjects to the Prosecutor’s Office in Benton, Columbia and Chelan Counties for consideration of charges.  Oregon State Police and WDFW Police often collaborate on investigations involving violations in our border country.

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 3:32 PM


To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching

 

So how did “Officer James and Alexander searched a local pond” — with scuba gear or just wading around?

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 3:14 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

Yes – it’s part of the submission

From: Andy Walgamott [mailto:awalgamott@media-inc.com]
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 3:05 PM
To: Cenci, Mike (DFW)
Subject: Re: poaching

 

Mike, Are you sending that to The Reel News for their Jan issue?

On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 9:49 PM, Cenci, Mike (DFW) <Mike.Cenci@dfw.wa.gov> wrote:

I rewrote some of this, no way to make it a short story. Thought you might want to use it. No one has it yet.

Poachers Killing Spree Ends With Jail: In October of 2006-WDFW Sgt. Nixon and Officer James receive independent information from informants that James Cody Stearns and Johnny Boggs poached an elk in the Charlie Creek area with modern firearm during Muzzle loader season and that none of the Stearns are muzzle loaders.  Honest sportsmen had been telling us these guys were problems for a long time, and we finally caught up with them. This was the first of several cases concerning Cody Stearns over the course of several years.

ELK INVESTIGATION: Sgt. Nixon and Officer James located poached elk remains off the Charlie Creek Main line and processed the evidence.  Officer James contacted the Stearns at their residence and checked the elk.  Officer James is told that Cody’s mother Tina killed the elk and he notices a muzzle loader tag on the animal.  While discussing the elk with Tina, Officer James learns the elk was killed at approximately 1200 hours and was told that her son Cody and his friend Johnny Boggs helped drag the animal out and processed it.  After exhaustive investigation of the case, Officer James was able to obtain a search warrant of the Stearns’ residence based on Tina’s statement of killing the elk around noon and documented evidence that she purchased the tag around 4:00 P.M. later that same day.

The search warrant was successful, the elk recovered, two firearms forfeited, and officers obtained confessions from Cody Stearns, Johnny Boggs and Tina Stearns of their involvement in the poaching.  The statements from the subjects determined that Stearns and friend Johnny Boggs killed the elk in the early afternoon of the Muzzle loader season while “Bear Hunting”, and then called Cody’s mother Tina who obtained a Muzzle loader tag to cover the elk.  All suspects were convicted of the poaching; Cody and Tina Stearns had their hunting privileges revoked for their participation in the unlawful purchase and use of the tag.  Cody was indignant throughout the case and showed no remorse for the poaching, only that he was caught.

DEER POACHING NOVEMBER , 2006: In November of 2006, Officer James assisted Officer Jeff Wickersham with a deer poaching in the North River area.  Officer Wickersham developed information that Cody Stearns and E.J. Bates had illegally killed a deer and left it to waste in a landowner’s field.  Officer Wickersham was able to obtain a warrant for a rifle matching the .243 round found at the scene.  Officer James and other officers assisted Officer Wickersham in the recovery and eventual forfeiture of the rifle.  Stearns was not charged with hunting while revoked due to the revocation not being imposed as the previous elk case was still in the court system at the time of the deer poaching, less than a month after the elk poaching.  Cody was eventually revoked from obtaining any hunting licenses for two years until May 22, 2009.

DEER POACHING OCTOBER, 2008: In October of 2008, Officer James received information from Ocean Shores Police regarding their contact and arrest of Cody Stearns and Joel Shaw hunting within the city limits of Ocean Shores in Grays Harbor County.  The Officer contacted Stearns and Shaw who admitted to spotlighting deer.  Stearns at the time had been convicted of a felony and was under a department hunting revocation.  In the Ocean Shores Police report, Officer James noticed there was a brief reference to blood and deer hair in the back of the truck, which was explained away by Shaw by claiming it was his girlfriends deer she got earlier in the day.  Officer James and Sgt. Nixon followed the case up with an interview of Shaw.

Shaw explained he and Stearns had taken his girlfriend hunting that day and helped her get a deer somewhere in the East Humtulips area.  Shaw showed officers the head from the deer and his girlfriends tag.  Through further interviewing Shaw described how Stearns had directed him and his girlfriend to the Humptulips area inside the 3200 road closure and how Stearns participated in the killing of the deer.  The deer head was confiscated and a new investigation was opened on Stearns for hunting while revoked.  Stearns was eventually charged and found guilty in a jury trial to “Hunting while revoked, and Felony Possession of a Firearm” and sentenced to Nine months in Grays Harbor County Jail along with a $2,000 Civil Wildlife Penalty and court costs.

Officer James continued his investigation into Stearns involvement with the killing of a Cougar Shaw was bragging about killing in September.  Shaw said Stearns was with him hunting at the time, but did not kill it because he did not have a shot on the cat.  Further investigation revealed Shaw’s Cougar tag was purchased after killing the cat and Officer James obtained a warrant to search Shaw’s residence.  The warrant produced several significant evidence items including the confession of Shaws participation and involvement with several elk slaughtered in the North River GMU.  Shaw eventually confessed to hunting with Stearns over the past few months, while Stearns was revoked, and killing several deer, elk, bear, and a cougar.  The warrant provided several photographs of Stearns with multiple deer heads, bear, and the Cougar Shaw earlier claimed he had killed.  While investigating this case Officer James received information in January of 2009 regarding Stearns being arrested for driving while drivers license revoked in Cosmopolis, Wa Grays Harbor County.

Officer James obtained a copy of the arrest report and observed an admission by Stearns and his accomplice Levi Stevens to the investigating officer that they were on their way home from hunting in the North River area.  Officer James followed up the information by contacting the investigating officer and obtained Stearns’ vehicle description and license number.  Based on other investigative facts, Officer James spent several weeks tracking Stearns hunting activities in various locations of Grays Harbor County.  In March, after exhaustive investigation, Officer James was able to organize several officers and arrest Stearns while in the field actively hunting in the Humptulips area.  Stearns was arrested and booked into jail for Felony weapons and hunting violations.

Officer James continued his earlier hunting investigations against Stearns and was able to gain the assistance of Shaw in locating several remains of the deer Stearns killed or assisted in the killing of over the past year.  Officer James and Alexander searched a local pond used by Stearns to discard the heads of his illegal animals and retrieved several deer and elk heads as well as bear parts described as illegally taken by Shaw.  Officer James completed his investigation and provided Grays Harbor Prosecutors with a case in which Stearns was involved in the illegal killing of more than twenty big game animals.

Based on the strength of the case and evidence provided and to avoid being charged for another felony weapons violation, Stearns plead guilty to five Gross Misdemeanors in the poaching of five deer as well as other violations in November, 2010.  Stearns was sentenced to one year in jail for each count, court costs, and assessed $10,000 dollars in Fish and Wildlife civil penalties.  Stearns has since been revoked from hunting for life by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.    Although unable to develop probable cause, it is suspected that Stearns has been involved with the taking of well over a hundred big game animals over the past few years.  Much credit needs to be given to the team work involved in the lengthy investigation by WDFW officers in Detachment 2.  This case was hard fought and it took a total team effort in the successful investigation and prosecution of Stearns, whom most likely will continue to poach in the future.

 

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

 


Andy Walgamott
Editor, Northwest Sportsman magazine, Alaska Sporting Journal, Northwest Sportsman Atlas
(800) 332-1736
nwsportsmanmag.com
Facebook: Northwest Sportsman Magazine
Twitter: NWSportsman
Wordpress: Northwest Sportsman

Support your LOCAL hunting and fishing magazine!

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