Lights & Sirens

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Eatonville man pleads guilty to bear baiting

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on July 17, 2012 at 5:52 am |
July 17, 2012 8:41 am

An Eatonville man has pleaded guilty to 14 counts of bear baiting in Central Washington to ensure prosecutors drop similar charges against his family.

Okanogan County prosecutors say James Erickson, 52, had a cabin outside of Winthrop and often set a chair on the porch where hunters didn’t even have to get up as they trapped black bears with sugary treats like donuts.

He was initially charged with 40 related counts but many of the charges were dropped as part of the plea deal. Erickson was sentenced to 180 days in jail but will only serve six.

After wildlife authorities served a search warrant at the cabin, they uncovered surveillance images that served as evidence against Erickson. Many depicted him posing with dead bears or setting out bait.

Bear baiting has been illegal in Washington since 1996.

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