Washington Man Caught in the Act of Poaching

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A Walla Walla man was charged last week in Walla Walla County District Court with poaching four deer, based on evidence gathered earlier this month by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers.

Kyle O’Brien, 18, was charged with four gross misdemeanor counts each of hunting deer during closed season and wastage, one gross misdemeanor count of spotlighting big game, and one misdemeanor count each of shooting from a road and having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

WDFW Officer Rob McQuary received a tip Aug. 2 about two mule deer bucks that had been shot and killed found off Nelms Road, just north of Woodward Canyon Road in western Walla Walla County. When McQuary found the two carcasses with velvet-covered antlers still attached, he and WDFW Officer Mike Johnson set up watch in the area to see if the shooter returned to remove the antlers.

Before 11 p.m. that night, O’Brien was observed by the officers shining a spotlight from a car and shooting a rifle seven times within a few minutes. The officers stopped and questioned O’Brien and said O’Brien admitted to shooting two deer that night and two the night before.

Officers recovered the two other mule deer nearby and seized O'Brien's rifle.

A gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. In addition, criminal wildlife penalties can be assessed up to $6,000.