A deputy county attorney whose work has led to a number of southern Willamette Valley poachers being thrown in the clink with huge dents in their wallet has been selected as Oregon’s fourth “Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year.”
The award was given yesterday to Lane County’s Jay Hall, who recently prosecuted several members of the Donoho clan of Springfield as well as the illegal killing of four bull elk near Cottage Grove early last year.
“Deputy District Attorney Hall has a passion for wildlife and is a sportsman himself. He is dedicated to the protection of Oregon’s natural resources through the vigorous prosecution of those who violate wildlife and other criminal laws,” said Captain Jeff Samuels of the Oregon State Police’s Fish and Wildlife Division, one of several members of the Oregon Sportsmen’s Coalition which sponsors the award.
A former deputy sheriff in Deschutes County, Hall was hired in late 2009, has been on several ride-alongs with game wardens, is said to be an “excellent communicator” with them, and was nominated for the award by troopers who work with him on wildlife cases.
“ODFW appreciates Deputy D.A. Hall’s work prosecuting wildlife cases in Lane County,” said Steven Marx, the agency’s South Willamette Watershed District Manager in Corvallis. “His efforts, and others in district attorney offices around the state, is helping to ensure the safety of our wildlife and the protection of our natural resources.”
According to OSP, his first significant case was one involving the shooting of four elk by John K. Atwater, then 50, on private land and out of season in October 2009. Atwater and five men who assisted him in attempting to move the bulls all pled guilty, with Atwater getting 40 days, $6,000 in restitution to ODFW and $6,675 in fines.
Hall also prosecuted the first case under Oregon’s new “Trophy Law” involving new restitution penalties that took effect January 2010 for the unlawful take of trophy-class animals. In February 2010, a Cottage Grove area resident was arrested for the unlawful taking of a four-point buck for which he later pled guilty. He was sentenced to pay the entire $7,500 restitution to ODFW, additional fines, 10 days in jail, 18 months probation, and ordered to serve 100 hours of community service.
And he was the lead prosecutor in the Donoho poaching case, which we’ve reported on here and in Northwest Sportsman magazine. According to OSP, he assisted in writing and executing a search warrant for and prosecuted the case which began in 2010 and involved the take of about 300 deer and elk over five years and other criminal offenses. All nine suspects were convicted, with the ringleader Shane Donoho getting 360 days in jail and fines of $42,000 due to ODFW and $3,200 to OSP.
Hall is quoted by the Eugene Register-Guard as saying, “What used to be hunting season is now jail season” about Shane and his father Rory’s unique sentence where both men will serve four 90-day stints in jail just as fall deer hunts begin for law-abiding Oregon sportsmen, a sentence that begins this October and runs through 2014.
Past winners of the award include:
2009: Tillamook County Deputy District Attorney Joel Stevens
2008: Wallowa County District Attorney Mona K. Williams
2007: Columbia County Deputy District Attorney Dale Anderson
Other members of the Sportsmen’s Coalition include:
Oregon Hunters Association; Oregon Federation for North American Wild Sheep; Izaak Walton League;
Oregon Duck Hunters; Oregon Mule Deer Foundation; Oregon State Shooting Association; Safari Club International;
Oregon Falconers Association; National Wild Turkey Federation; National Rifle Association; Oregon Guides and Packers; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Oregon Bow Hunters; Traditional Archers of Oregon; Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges.