North Bend Man Sentenced for Big Game Poaching and Trespass

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today that a King County judge has sentenced a big game poacher to 80 hours of community service and fined him $8,000.     

In total, Jason Smith (29) was charged with two felony counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, 27 gross misdemeanor charges of second-degree unlawful hunting of big game, unlawful black bear baiting and unlawful waste of wildlife; and three misdemeanor charges of unlawful hunting or retrieving wildlife from private property. Smith illegally killed four elk, four black bears, and five black-tailed deer in Western Washington.

In early 2021, WDFW Police began investigating Smith on social media based on his many successful harvest posts. Early in the investigation, officers began to suspect that he had illegally killed multiple elk in the North Bend area of King County. Over the course of the next year and a half, officers were able to obtain numerous search warrants for social media and mapping tools to gather evidence of the suspect’s poaching activities.

In numerous cases, Smith used illegal means to bait deer, elk, and black bears, as well as trespassed onto private property to poach or retrieve illegally killed animals. In one case, he left an elk carcass to waste after another person found the poached elk before he could retrieve it.

Smith posted photos of his exploits on social media and told friends about his tracking and killing prowess, suggesting he should be featured on extreme outdoor TV shows. In reality, much of the wildlife he poached was baited into his yard or poached on his neighbor’s property. In a text message obtained during the warrant, Smith also said he would kill another elk for a friend who hadn’t shot one yet if he got to keep the head to mount.

In the end, Officers served a search warrant at Smith’s residence and seized some of the wildlife parts, including meat. Other animals were seized from a taxidermist.

“Smith attempted to portray himself as a type of outdoor celebrity, using social media to boast – when in reality, there was nothing ethical about his actions,” said WDFW Captain Dan Chadwick. “I commend our Officers’ hard work and ingenuity in completing this case. They are committed to ensuring safe and ethical opportunities while conserving our big game natural resources. We’d also like to thank the King County Prosecutors Office and the Attorney General’s Office Environmental Protection Division for their work on this case.”

[Featured Image by Pete Nuij on Unsplash]

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  • Glad to see he was caught and convicted. It’s wildly selfish and irresponsible to kill animals at will. Laws and licenses exist for a reason, and it doesn’t make sense to me that the best way to show our manliness is to kill an animal for sport, not to mention to *brag* agout it.

  • Has Jason Smith shown any remorse? Does he understand that what he did was selfish and sickening to most humans with a heart? I don’t even watch shows like Naked and Afraid because they glorify killing wildlife for fame and attention and their sustenance while they’re on tv. He should be made to eat nothing but white rice because that’s what they do on Survivor. Ya!

  • Living Snoqualmie