Alleged poachers, convicted felon, accused of 'thrill kills'



Posted on December 3, 2010 at 11:45 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 3 at 11:45 PM

SEATTLE -- A group of men was taken into custody near Kent for hunting without a license. But state fish and wildlife officers call their crimes "thrill kills."

The officers were investigating reports of a bear poaching in a rural area of King County when they heard gunfire. They found three men who were hunting protected wildlife without licenses. One of them is a convicted felon.

An arsenal of weapons was found inside the home of the felon, which included 3,500 rounds of ammunition, armor piercing rounds and body armor. All items are illegal for a felon to possess.

"He's never even had a hunting license," says wildlife officer Sgt. Kim Chandler. "He's not a hunter. But he does like to kill stuff."

After authorities took the felon and two friends into custody, they also found evidence of poaching, including a bear they lured to their driveway with donuts, and then killed.

"We found a raccoon held in captivity in a cage, a dead possum in a cage, a dead squirrel in a cage," says Chandler.

It's the second "thrill kill" fish and wildlife came across this week. Near Montesano, someone opened fire on a herd of elk out of season, leaving meat to rot where they dropped to the ground.

"There seems to be a couple of instances in the last couple weeks of people shooting stuff and leaving it. I don't get it," says Chandler.

The felon in this most recent case had been convicted of illegal possession of a firearm twice before. Wildlife officers say he admitted he just likes to kill things.

"Appears that he's a slow learner," Chandler said.

Fish and wildlife officers declined to release the identities of any of the suspects since they haven't been charged. Officers do not believe they are responsible for the illegal shooting of a bear near Issaquah last month.