OLYMPIA – A Cosmopolis man has been fined and has lost his hunting privileges for two years, after pleading guilty to illegally killing a large, four-point blacktail deer.
Danny W. Bonnell of Cosmopolis pleaded guilty April 9 in Grays Harbor District Court to second-degree unlawful hunting and making a false statement to a public official. He was fined $2,700 and sentenced to two years’ probation. In May, his hunting privileges were revoked for two years, and yesterday he paid a $3,000 fee for the return of his hunting rifle seized during the poaching investigation.
The sentence follows an investigation over several years by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officers, spurred by a citizen tip. Officers with search warrants seized a crossbow, all-terrain vehicle and hunting equipment from Bonnell’s residence and a second residence. The deer antlers and skull, as well as a black bear hide, also were confiscated.
Citizen witnesses were key to the successful investigation and prosecution of the case, WDFW enforcement officers said. The deer illegally killed in 2004 was frequently seen in Cosmopolis, and was enjoyed by a number of local wildlife viewers, said WDFW Officer Danyl Klump.
“It’s encouraging to see members of the community step forward and turn in this illegal hunter, because he took something that belongs to all of us,” Klump said.
“We rely on information from law-abiding hunters and others recreating outdoors to apprehend poachers,” said WDFW Deputy Enforcement Chief Mike Cenci.
Individuals with information on poaching violations are encouraged to call 1-877 WDFW TIP (877-933-9847) or a WDFW regional office. The identity of reporting parties is kept confidential, said Cenci. Rewards are offered for tips leading to arrests.