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Washington
Chapter 77.15 RCW Fish and wildlife enforcement code

Chapter 77.15 RCW
Fish and wildlife enforcement code




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77.15.005
Finding Intent.
The legislature finds that merger of the departments of fisheries and wildlife resulted in two criminal codes applicable to fish and wildlife, and that it has become increasingly difficult to administer and enforce the two criminal codes. Furthermore, laws defining crimes involving fish and wildlife have evolved over many years of changing uses and management objectives for fish and wildlife. The resulting two codes make it difficult for citizens to comply with the law and unnecessarily complicate enforcement of laws against violators.

The legislature intends by chapter 190, Laws of 1998 to revise and recodify the criminal laws governing fish and wildlife, ensuring that all people involved with fish and wildlife are able to know and understand the requirements of the laws and the risks of violation. Additionally, the legislature intends to create a more uniform approach to criminal laws governing fish and wildlife and to the laws authorizing prosecution, sentencing, and punishments, including repealing crimes that are redundant to other provisions of the criminal code.

Chapter 190, Laws of 1998 is not intended to alter existing powers of the commission or the director to adopt rules or exercise powers over fish and wildlife. In some places reference is made to violation of department rules, but this is intended to conform with current powers of the commission, director, or both, to adopt rules governing fish and wildlife activities.


[1998 c 190 1.]




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77.15.010
Exemption for department actions.
A person is not guilty of a crime under this chapter if the person is an officer, employee, or agent of the department lawfully acting in the course of his or her authorized duties.


[1998 c 190 2.]




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77.15.020
Authority to define violation of rule as infraction.
If the commission or director has authority to adopt a rule that is punishable as a crime under this chapter, then the commission or director may provide that violation of the rule shall be punished with notice of infraction under RCW 7.84.030. Neither the commission nor the director have the authority to adopt a rule providing that a violation punishable as an infraction shall be a crime.


[2005 c 321 2; 1998 c 190 3.]




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77.15.030
Individual animal unlawfully taken Separate offense.
Where it is unlawful to hunt, take, fish, possess, or traffic in big game or protected or endangered fish or wildlife, then each individual animal unlawfully taken or possessed is a separate offense.


[1999 c 258 1; 1998 c 190 4.]




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77.15.040
Jurisdiction.
District courts have jurisdiction concurrent with superior courts for misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors committed in violation of this chapter and may impose the punishment provided for these offenses. Superior courts have jurisdiction over felonies committed in violation of this chapter. Venue for offenses occurring in off-shore waters shall be in a county bordering on the Pacific Ocean, or the county where fish or wildlife from the offense are landed.


[1998 c 190 5.]




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77.15.050
"Conviction" defined.
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, as used in this chapter, "conviction" means a final conviction in a state or municipal court or an unvacated forfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to secure the defendant's appearance in court. A plea of guilty, or a finding of guilt for a violation of this title or rule of the commission or director constitutes a conviction regardless of whether the imposition of sentence is deferred or the penalty is suspended.


[1998 c 190 6.]




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77.15.060
Reference to chapters 7.84 and 9A.20 RCW.
Crimes defined by this chapter shall be punished as infractions, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or felonies, based on the classification of crimes set out in chapters 7.84 and 9A.20 RCW.


[1998 c 190 7.]




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77.15.065
Authority of attorney general if prosecuting attorney defaults.
If the prosecuting attorney of the county in which a violation of this title or rule of the department occurs fails to file an information against the alleged violator, the attorney general upon request of the commission may file an information in the superior court of the county and prosecute the case in place of the prosecuting attorney. The commission may request prosecution by the attorney general if thirty days have passed since the commission informed the county prosecuting attorney of the alleged violation.


[1996 c 267 9; 1983 1st ex.s. c 46 41; 1949 c 112 24; Rem. Supp. 1949 5780-222. Formerly RCW 75.10.100, 75.08.275, 43.25.070.]

Notes: Intent -- Effective date -- 1996 c 267: See notes following RCW 77.12.177.






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77.15.070
Civil forfeiture of property used for violation of chapter.
(1) Fish and wildlife officers and ex officio fish and wildlife officers may seize without warrant boats, airplanes, vehicles, motorized implements, conveyances, gear, appliances, or other articles they have probable cause to believe have been held with intent to violate or used in violation of this title or rule of the commission or director. However, fish and wildlife officers or ex officio fish and wildlife officers may not seize any item or article, other than for evidence, if under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the violation was inadvertent. The property seized is subject to forfeiture to the state under this section regardless of ownership. Property seized may be recovered by its owner by depositing with the department or into court a cash bond or equivalent security equal to the value of the seized property but not more than one hundred thousand dollars. Such cash bond or security is subject to forfeiture in lieu of the property. Forfeiture of property seized under this section is a civil forfeiture against property and is intended to be a remedial civil sanction.

(2) In the event of a seizure of property under this section, jurisdiction to begin the forfeiture proceedings shall commence upon seizure. Within fifteen days following the seizure, the seizing authority shall serve a written notice of intent to forfeit property on the owner of the property seized and on any person having any known right or interest in the property seized. Notice may be served by any method authorized by law or court rule, including service by certified mail with return receipt requested. Service by mail is deemed complete upon mailing within the fifteen-day period following the seizure.

(3) Persons claiming a right of ownership or right to possession of property are entitled to a hearing to contest forfeiture. Such a claim shall specify the claim of ownership or possession and shall be made in writing and served on the director within forty-five days of the seizure. If the seizing authority has complied with notice requirements and there is no claim made within forty-five days, then the property shall be forfeited to the state.

(4) If any person timely serves the director with a claim to property, the person shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard as to the person's claim or right. The hearing shall be before the director or director's designee, or before an administrative law judge appointed under chapter 34.12 RCW, except that a person asserting a claim or right may remove the matter to a court of competent jurisdiction if the aggregate value of the property seized is more than five thousand dollars. The department may settle a person's claim of ownership prior to the administrative hearing.

(5) The hearing to contest forfeiture and any subsequent appeal shall be as provided for in chapter 34.05 RCW, the administrative procedure act. The seizing authority has the burden to demonstrate that it had reason to believe the property was held with intent to violate or was used in violation of this title or rule of the commission or director. The person contesting forfeiture has the burden of production and proof by a preponderance of evidence that the person owns or has a right to possess the property and:

(a) That the property was not held with intent to violate or used in violation of this title; or

(b) If the property is a boat, airplane, or vehicle, that the illegal use or planned illegal use of the boat, airplane, or vehicle occurred without the owner's knowledge or consent, and that the owner acted reasonably to prevent illegal uses of such boat, airplane, or vehicle.

(6) A forfeiture of a conveyance encumbered by a perfected security interest is subject to the interest of the secured party if the secured party neither had knowledge of nor consented to the act or omission. No security interest in seized property may be perfected after seizure.

(7) If seized property is forfeited under this section the department may retain it for official use unless the property is required to be destroyed, or upon application by any law enforcement agency of the state, release such property to the agency for the use of enforcing this title, or sell such property, and deposit the proceeds to the fish and wildlife enforcement reward account created in RCW 77.15.425.


[2005 c 406 2; 2000 c 107 231; 1998 c 190 69.]




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77.15.075
Enforcement authority of fish and wildlife officers.
(1) Fish and wildlife officers and ex officio fish and wildlife officers shall enforce this title, rules of the department, and other statutes as prescribed by the legislature. Fish and wildlife officers who are not ex officio officers shall have and exercise, throughout the state, such police powers and duties as are vested in sheriffs and peace officers generally. An applicant for a fish and wildlife officer position must be a citizen of the United States of America who can read and write the English language. All fish and wildlife officers employed after June 13, 2002, must successfully complete the basic law enforcement academy course, known as the basic course, sponsored by the criminal justice training commission, or the basic law enforcement equivalency certification, known as the equivalency course, provided by the criminal justice training commission. All officers employed on June 13, 2002, must have successfully completed the basic course, the equivalency course, or the supplemental course in criminal law enforcement, known as the supplemental course, offered under chapter 155, Laws of 1985. Any officer who has not successfully completed the basic course, the equivalency course, or the supplemental course must complete the basic course or the equivalency course within fifteen months of June 13, 2002.

(2) Fish and wildlife officers are peace officers.

(3) Any liability or claim of liability under chapter 4.92 RCW that arises out of the exercise or alleged exercise of authority by a fish and wildlife officer rests with the department unless the fish and wildlife officer acts under the direction and control of another agency or unless the liability is otherwise assumed under an agreement between the department and another agency.

(4) Fish and wildlife officers may serve and execute warrants and processes issued by the courts.


[2003 c 388 3; 2002 c 128 4; 2000 c 107 212; 1998 c 190 112; 1993 sp.s. c 2 67; 1988 c 36 50; 1987 c 506 16; 1985 c 155 2; 1980 c 78 17. Formerly RCW 77.12.055.]

Notes: Effective date -- 1993 sp.s. c 2 1-6, 8-59, and 61-79: See RCW 43.300.900.

Severability -- 1993 sp.s. c 2: See RCW 43.300.901.


Legislative findings and intent -- 1987 c 506: See note following RCW 77.04.020.


Effective date -- Intent, construction -- Savings -- Severability -- 1980 c 78: See notes following RCW 77.04.010.







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77.15.080
Fish and wildlife officers Inspection authority.
(1) Based upon articulable facts that a person is engaged in fishing, harvesting, or hunting activities, fish and wildlife officers have the authority to temporarily stop the person and check for valid licenses, tags, permits, stamps, or catch record cards, and to inspect all fish, shellfish, seaweed, and wildlife in possession as well as the equipment being used to ensure compliance with the requirements of this title, and may request the person to write his or her signature for comparison with the signature on the license. Failure to comply with the request is prima facie evidence that the person is not the person named on the license. For licenses purchased over the internet or telephone, fish and wildlife officers may require the person, if age eighteen or older, to exhibit a driver's license or other photo identification.

(2) Based upon articulable facts that a person is transporting a prohibited aquatic animal species or any aquatic plant, fish and wildlife officers and ex officio fish and wildlife officers have the authority to temporarily stop the person and inspect the watercraft to ensure that the watercraft and associated equipment are not transporting prohibited aquatic animal species or aquatic plants.


[2002 c 281 8. Prior: 2001 c 306 1; 2001 c 253 23; 2000 c 107 233; 1998 c 190 113.]

Notes: Purpose -- 2002 c 281: See note following RCW 77.08.010.






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77.15.085
Seizure without warrant.
Fish and wildlife officers and ex officio fish and wildlife officers may seize without a warrant wildlife, fish, and shellfish they have probable cause to believe have been taken, transported, or possessed in violation of this title or rule of the commission or director.


[2000 c 107 232.]




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77.15.090
Search, arrest warrant Issuance Execution.
On a showing of probable cause that there has been a violation of any fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife law of the state of Washington, or upon a showing of probable cause to believe that evidence of such violation may be found at a place, a court shall issue a search warrant or arrest warrant. Fish and wildlife officers may execute any such arrest or search warrant reasonably necessary to their duties under this title and may seize fish, seaweed, shellfish, and wildlife or any evidence of a crime and the fruits or instrumentalities of a crime as provided by warrant. The court may have a building, enclosure, vehicle, vessel, container, or receptacle opened or entered and the contents examined.


[2001 c 253 24; 2000 c 107 234; 1998 c 190 117; 1980 c 78 26; 1955 c 36 77.12.120. Prior: 1947 c 275 22; Rem. Supp. 1947 5992-32. Formerly RCW 77.12.120.]

Notes: Effective date -- Intent, construction -- Savings -- Severability -- 1980 c 78: See notes following RCW 77.04.010.






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77.15.092
Arrest without warrant.
Fish and wildlife officers and ex officio fish and wildlife officers may arrest without warrant persons found violating the law or rules adopted pursuant to this title.


[2000 c 107 213; 1998 c 190 114; 1987 c 506 19; 1980 c 78 20; 1971 ex.s. c 173 2; 1961 c 68 3; 1955 c 36 77.12.080. Prior: 1947 c 275 18; Rem. Supp. 1947 5992-28. Formerly RCW 77.12.080.]

Notes: Legislative findings and intent -- 1987 c 506: See note following RCW 77.04.020.

Effective date -- Intent, construction -- Savings -- Severability -- 1980 c 78: See notes following RCW 77.04.010.







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77.15.094
Search without warrant Seizure of evidence, property Limitation.
Fish and wildlife officers and ex officio fish and wildlife officers may make a reasonable search without warrant of a vessel, conveyances, vehicles, containers, packages, or other receptacles for fish, seaweed, shellfish, and wildlife which they have reason to believe contain evidence of a violation of law or rules adopted pursuant to this title and seize evidence as needed for law enforcement. This authority does not extend to quarters in a boat, building, or other property used exclusively as a private domicile, does not extend to transitory residences in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and does not allow search and seizure without a warrant if the thing or place is protected from search without warrant within the meaning of Article I, section 7 of the state Constitution. Seizure of property as evidence of a crime does not preclude seizure of the property for forfeiture as authorized by law.


[2001 c 253 25; 2000 c 107 214; 1998 c 190 115; 1987 c 506 20; 1980 c 78 21; 1955 c 36 77.12.090. Prior: 1947 c 275 19; Rem. Supp. 1947 5992-29. Formerly RCW 77.12.090.]

Notes: Legislative findings and intent -- 1987 c 506: See note following RCW 77.04.020.

Effective date -- Intent, construction -- Savings -- Severability -- 1980 c 78: See notes following RCW 77.04.010.







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77.15.096
Inspection without warrant Commercial fish and wildlife entities Limitations.
Fish and wildlife officers may inspect without warrant at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner the premises, containers, fishing equipment, fish, seaweed, shellfish, and wildlife, and records required by the department of any commercial fisher or wholesale dealer or fish buyer. Fish and wildlife officers may similarly inspect without warrant the premises, containers, fishing equipment, fish, shellfish, and wildlife, and records required by the department of any shipping agent or other person placing or attempting to place fish, shellfish, or wildlife into interstate commerce, any cold storage plant that the department has probable cause to believe contains fish, shellfish, or wildlife, or of any taxidermist or fur buyer. Fish and wildlife officers may inspect without warrant the records required by the department of any retail outlet selling fish, shellfish, or wildlife, and, if the officers have probable cause to believe a violation of this title or rules of the commission has occurred, they may inspect without warrant the premises, containers, and fish, shellfish, and wildlife of any retail outlet selling fish, shellfish, or wildlife. Authority granted under this section does not extend to quarters in a boat, building, or other property used exclusively as a private domicile, does not extend to transitory residences in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and does not allow search and seizure without a warrant if the thing or place is protected from search without warrant within the meaning of Article I, section 7 of the state Constitution.


[2002 c 128 5; 2001 c 253 26; 1998 c 190 116; 1982 c 152 1; 1980 c 78 22. Formerly RCW 77.12.095.]

Notes: Effective date -- Intent, construction -- Savings -- Severability -- 1980 c 78: See notes following RCW 77.04.010.






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77.15.098
Willful misconduct/gross negligence Civil liability.
(1) An authorized state, county, or municipal officer may be subject to civil liability under RCW 77.15.070 for willful misconduct or gross negligence in the performance of his or her duties.

(2) The director, the fish and wildlife commission, or the department may be subject to civil liability for their willful or reckless misconduct in matters involving the seizure and forfeiture of personal property involved with fish or wildlife offenses.


[2000 c 107 215; 1993 sp.s. c 2 68; 1989 c 314 3. Formerly RCW 77.12.103.]

Notes: Effective date -- 1993 sp.s. c 2 1-6, 8-59, and 61-79: See RCW 43.300.900.

Severability -- 1993 sp.s. c 2: See RCW 43.300.901.


Finding -- 1989 c 314: "In order to improve the enforcement of wildlife laws it is important to increase the penalties upon poachers by seizing the conveyances and gear that are used in poaching activities and to cause forfeiture of those items to the department." [1989 c 314 1.]







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77.15.100
Forfeited wildlife and articles Disposition Department authority Sale.
(1) Unless otherwise provided in this title, fish, shellfish, or wildlife unlawfully taken or possessed, or involved in a violation shall be forfeited to the state upon conviction. Unless already held by, sold, destroyed, or disposed of by the department, the court shall order such fish or wildlife to be delivered to the department. Where delay will cause loss to the value of the property and a ready wholesale buying market exists, the department may sell property to a wholesale buyer at a fair market value.

(2) When seized property is forfeited to the department, the department may retain it for official use unless the property is required to be destroyed, or upon application by any law enforcement agency of the state, release the property to the agency for the use of enforcing this title, or sell such property and deposit the proceeds into the *state wildlife fund established under RCW 77.12.170. Any sale of other property shall be at public auction or after public advertisement reasonably designed to obtain the highest price. The time, place, and manner of holding the sale shall be determined by the director. The director may contract for the sale to be through the department of general administration as state surplus property, or, except where not justifiable by the value of the property, the director shall publish notice of the sale once a week for at least two consecutive weeks before the sale in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the sale is to be held.


[2000 c 107 235; 1998 c 190 63.]

Notes: *Reviser's note: The "state wildlife fund" was renamed the "state wildlife account" pursuant to 2005 c 224 4 and 2005 c 225 4.






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77.15.110
Acting for commercial purposes When Proof.
(1) For purposes of this chapter, a person acts for commercial purposes if the person engages in conduct that relates to commerce in fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife or any parts thereof. Commercial conduct may include taking, delivering, selling, buying, or trading fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife where there is present or future exchange of money, goods, or any valuable consideration. Evidence that a person acts for commercial purposes includes, but is not limited to, the following conduct:

(a) Using gear typical of that used in commercial fisheries;

(b) Exceeding the bag or possession limits for personal use by taking or possessing more than three times the amount of fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife allowed;

(c) Delivering or attempting to deliver fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife to a person who sells or resells fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife including any licensed or unlicensed wholesaler;

(d) Taking fish or shellfish using a vessel designated on a commercial fishery license or using gear not authorized in a personal use fishery;

(e) Using a commercial fishery license;

(f) Selling or dealing in raw furs; or

(g) Performing taxidermy service on fish, shellfish, or wildlife belonging to another person for a fee or receipt of goods or services.

(2) For purposes of this chapter, the value of any fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife may be proved based on evidence of legal or illegal sales involving the person charged or any other person, of offers to sell or solicitation of offers to sell by the person charged or by any other person, or of any market price for the fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife including market price for farm-raised game animals. The value assigned to specific fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife by RCW 77.15.420 may be presumed to be the value of such fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife. It is not relevant to proof of value that the person charged misrepresented that the fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife was taken in compliance with law if the fish, seaweed, shellfish, or wildlife was unlawfully taken and had no lawful market value.


[2002 c 127 2; 2001 c 253 27; 1998 c 190 8.]

Notes: Intent -- 2002 c 127: "The legislature intends to clarify that when a crime under chapter 77.15 RCW requires proof that a person acted for commercial purposes, that element refers to engaging in particular conduct that is commercial in nature and the element does not imply that a particular state of mind must exist. This act revises the existing definition of that element to confirm that the element is fulfilled by engaging in commercial conduct and to eliminate any implication that a particular mental state of mind must be shown. Examples are given of the type of conduct that may be considered as evidence that a person acts for a commercial purpose; however, these examples do not create a conclusive presumption that a person acts for a commercial purpose." [2002 c 127 1.]






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77.15.120
Endangered fish or wildlife Unlawful taking Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the second degree if the person hunts, fishes, possesses, maliciously harasses or kills fish or wildlife, or maliciously destroys the nests or eggs of fish or wildlife and the fish or wildlife is designated by the commission as endangered, and the taking has not been authorized by rule of the commission.

(2) A person is guilty of unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the first degree if the person has been:

(a) Convicted under subsection (1) of this section or convicted of any crime under this title involving the killing, possessing, harassing, or harming of endangered fish or wildlife; and

(b) Within five years of the date of the prior conviction the person commits the act described by subsection (1) of this section.

(3)(a) Unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.

(b) Unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the first degree is a class C felony. The department shall revoke any licenses or tags used in connection with the crime and order the person's privileges to hunt, fish, trap, or obtain licenses under this title to be suspended for two years.


[2000 c 107 236; 1998 c 190 13.]




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77.15.130
Protected fish or wildlife Unlawful taking Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful taking of protected fish or wildlife if:

(a) The person hunts, fishes, possesses, or maliciously kills protected fish or wildlife, or the person possesses or maliciously destroys the eggs or nests of protected fish or wildlife, and the taking has not been authorized by rule of the commission; or

(b) The person violates any rule of the commission regarding the taking, harming, harassment, possession, or transport of protected fish or wildlife.

(2) Unlawful taking of protected fish or wildlife is a misdemeanor.


[1998 c 190 14.]




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77.15.140
Unclassified fish or wildlife Unlawful taking Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful taking of unclassified fish or wildlife if:

(a) The person kills, hunts, fishes, takes, holds, possesses, transports, or maliciously injures or harms fish or wildlife that is not classified as big game, game fish, game animals, game birds, food fish, shellfish, protected wildlife, or endangered wildlife; and

(b) The act violates any rule of the commission or the director.

(2) Unlawful taking of unclassified fish or wildlife is a misdemeanor.


[1998 c 190 15.]




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77.15.150
Poison or explosives Unlawful use Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful use of poison or explosives if:

(a) The person lays out, sets out, or uses a drug, poison, or other deleterious substance that kills, injures, harms, or endangers fish, shellfish, or wildlife, except if the person is using the substance in compliance with federal and state laws and label instructions; or

(b) The person lays out, sets out, or uses an explosive that kills, injures, harms, or endangers fish, shellfish, or wildlife, except if authorized by law or permit of the director.

(2) Unlawful use of poison or explosives is a gross misdemeanor.


[2001 c 253 28; 1998 c 190 16.]




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77.15.160
Infractions Record catch Barbed hooks Other rule violations.
A person is guilty of an infraction, which shall be cited and punished as provided under chapter 7.84 RCW, if the person:

(1) Fails to immediately record a catch of fish or shellfish on a catch record card required by RCW 77.32.430, or required by rule of the commission under this title; or

(2) Fishes for personal use using barbed hooks in violation of any rule; or

(3) Violates any other rule of the commission or director that is designated by rule as an infraction.


[2000 c 107 237; 1998 c 190 17.]




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77.15.170
Waste of fish and wildlife Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of waste of fish and wildlife in the second degree if:

(a) The person kills, takes, or possesses fish, shellfish, or wildlife and the value of the fish, shellfish, or wildlife is greater than twenty dollars but less than two hundred fifty dollars; and

(b) The person recklessly allows such fish, shellfish, or wildlife to be wasted.

(2) A person is guilty of waste of fish and wildlife in the first degree if:

(a) The person kills, takes, or possesses fish, shellfish, or wildlife having a value of two hundred fifty dollars or more or wildlife classified as big game; and

(b) The person recklessly allows such fish, shellfish, or wildlife to be wasted.

(3)(a) Waste of fish and wildlife in the second degree is a misdemeanor.

(b) Waste of fish and wildlife in the first degree is a gross misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the department shall revoke any license or tag used in the crime and shall order suspension of the person's privileges to engage in the activity in which the person committed waste of fish and wildlife in the first degree for a period of one year.

(4) It is prima facie evidence of waste if a processor purchases or engages a quantity of food fish, shellfish, or game fish that cannot be processed within sixty hours after the food fish, game fish, or shellfish are taken from the water, unless the food fish, game fish, or shellfish are preserved in good marketable condition.


[1999 c 258 5; 1998 c 190 21.]




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77.15.180
Unlawful interference with fishing or hunting gear Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful interference with fishing or hunting gear in the second degree if the person:

(a) Takes or releases a wild animal from another person's trap without permission;

(b) Springs, pulls up, damages, possesses, or destroys another person's trap without the owner's permission; or

(c) Interferes with recreational gear used to take fish or shellfish.

(2) Unlawful interference with fishing or hunting gear in the second degree is a misdemeanor.

(3) A person is guilty of unlawful interference with fishing or hunting gear in the first degree if the person:

(a) Takes or releases fish or shellfish from commercial fishing gear without the owner's permission; or

(b) Intentionally destroys or interferes with commercial fishing gear.

(4) Unlawful interference with fishing or hunting gear in the first degree is a gross misdemeanor.

(5) A person is not in violation of unlawful interference with fishing or hunting gear if the person removes a trap placed on property owned, leased, or rented by the person.


[2001 c 253 29; 1998 c 190 22.]




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77.15.190
Unlawful trapping Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful trapping if the person:

(a) Sets out traps that are capable of taking wild animals, game animals, or furbearing mammals and does not possess all licenses, tags, or permits required under this title;

(b) Violates any rule of the commission or director regarding seasons, bag or possession limits, closed areas including game reserves, closed times, or any other rule governing the trapping of wild animals; or

(c) Fails to identify the owner of the traps or devices by neither (i) attaching a metal tag with the owner's department-assigned identification number or the name and address of the trapper legibly written in numbers or letters not less than one-eighth inch in height nor (ii) inscribing into the metal of the trap such number or name and address.

(2) Unlawful trapping is a misdemeanor.


[1999 c 258 9; 1998 c 190 34.]




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77.15.191
Revocation of trapper's license Placement of unauthorized traps.
The director may revoke the trapper's license of a person placing unauthorized traps on private property and may remove those traps.


[2000 c 107 268; 1987 c 372 4. Formerly RCW 77.65.470, 77.32.199.]




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77.15.192
Definitions.
The definitions in this section apply throughout RCW 77.15.194 through 77.15.198.

(1) "Animal" means any nonhuman vertebrate.

(2) "Body-gripping trap" means a trap that grips an animal's body or body part. Body-gripping trap includes, but is not limited to, steel-jawed leghold traps, padded-jaw leghold traps, Conibear traps, neck snares, and nonstrangling foot snares. Cage and box traps, suitcase-type live beaver traps, and common rat and mouse traps are not considered body-gripping traps.

(3) "Person" means a human being and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, an unincorporated association, a partnership, a government, or a governmental instrumentality.

(4) "Raw fur" means a pelt that has not been processed for purposes of retail sale.

(5) "Animal problem" means any animal that threatens or damages timber or private property or threatens or injures livestock or any other domestic animal.


[2001 c 1 2 (Initiative Measure No. 713, approved November 7, 2000).]

Notes: Finding -- 2001 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 713): "The people of the state of Washington find that this act is necessary in order to protect people and domestic pets and to protect and conserve wildlife from the dangers of cruel and indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps and poisons, and to encourage the use of humane methods of trapping when trapping is necessary to ensure public health and safety, protect livestock or property, safeguard threatened and endangered species, or conduct field research on wildlife." [2001 c 1 1 (Initiative Measure No. 713, approved November 7, 2000).]

Severability -- 2001 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 713): "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [2001 c 1 6 (Initiative Measure No. 713, approved November 7, 2000).]







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77.15.194
Unlawful traps Penalty.
(1) It is unlawful to use or authorize the use of any steel-jawed leghold trap, neck snare, or other body-gripping trap to capture any mammal for recreation or commerce in fur.

(2) It is unlawful to knowingly buy, sell, barter, or otherwise exchange, or offer to buy, sell, barter, or otherwise exchange the raw fur of a mammal or a mammal that has been trapped in this state with a steel-jawed leghold trap or any other body-gripping trap, whether or not pursuant to permit.

(3) It is unlawful to use or authorize the use of any steel-jawed leghold trap or any other body-gripping trap to capture any animal, except as provided in subsections (4) and (5) of this section.

(4) Nothing in this section prohibits the use of a Conibear trap in water, a padded leghold trap, or a nonstrangling type foot snare with a special permit granted by the director under (a) through (d) of this subsection. Issuance of the special permits shall be governed by rules adopted by the department and in accordance with the requirements of this section. Every person granted a special permit to use a trap or device listed in this subsection shall check the trap or device at least every twenty-four hours.

(a) Nothing in this section prohibits the director, in consultation with the department of social and health services or the United States department of health and human services from granting a permit to use traps listed in this subsection for the purpose of protecting people from threats to their health and safety.

(b) Nothing in this section prohibits the director from granting a special permit to use traps listed in this subsection to a person who applies for such a permit in writing, and who establishes that there exists on a property an animal problem that has not been and cannot be reasonably abated by the use of nonlethal control tools, including but not limited to guard animals, electric fencing, or box and cage traps, or if such nonlethal means cannot be reasonably applied. Upon making a finding in writing that the animal problem has not been and cannot be reasonably abated by nonlethal control tools or if the tools cannot be reasonably applied, the director may authorize the use, setting, placing, or maintenance of the traps for a period not to exceed thirty days.

(c) Nothing in this section prohibits the director from granting a special permit to department employees or agents to use traps listed in this subsection where the use of the traps is the only practical means of protecting threatened or endangered species as designated under RCW 77.08.010.

(d) Nothing in this section prohibits the director from issuing a permit to use traps listed in this subsection, excluding Conibear traps, for the conduct of legitimate wildlife research.

(5) Nothing in this section prohibits the United States fish and wildlife service, its employees or agents, from using a trap listed in subsection (4) of this section where the fish and wildlife service determines, in consultation with the director, that the use of such traps is necessary to protect species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal endangered species act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.).

(6) A person violating this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.


[2003 c 53 374; 2001 c 1 3 (Initiative Measure No. 713, approved November 7, 2000).]

Notes: Intent -- Effective date -- 2003 c 53: See notes following RCW 2.48.180.

Finding -- Severability -- 2001 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 713): See notes following RCW 77.15.192.







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77.15.196
Unlawful poison Penalty.
(1) It is unlawful to poison or attempt to poison any animal using sodium fluoroacetate, also known as compound 1080, or sodium cyanide.

(2) A person violating this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.


[2003 c 53 375; 2001 c 1 4 (Initiative Measure No. 713, approved November 7, 2000).]

Notes: Intent -- Effective date -- 2003 c 53: See notes following RCW 2.48.180.

Finding -- Severability -- 2001 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 713): See notes following RCW 77.15.192.







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77.15.198
Violation of RCW 77.15.194 or 77.15.196 Penalty.
In addition to appropriate criminal penalties, the director shall revoke the trapping license of any person convicted of a violation of RCW 77.15.194 or 77.15.196. The director shall not issue the violator a trapping license for a period of five years following the revocation. Following a subsequent conviction for a violation of RCW 77.15.194 or 77.15.196 by the same person, the director shall not issue a trapping license to the person at any time.


[2003 c 53 376; 2001 c 1 5 (Initiative Measure No. 713, approved November 7, 2000).]

Notes: Intent -- Effective date -- 2003 c 53: See notes following RCW 2.48.180.

Finding -- Severability -- 2001 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 713): See notes following RCW 77.15.192.







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77.15.210
Obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of obstructing the taking of fish[, shellfish,] or wildlife if the person:

(a) Harasses, drives, or disturbs fish, shellfish, or wildlife with the intent of disrupting lawful pursuit or taking thereof; or

(b) Harasses, intimidates, or interferes with an individual engaged in the lawful taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife or lawful predator control with the intent of disrupting lawful pursuit or taking thereof.

(2) Obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife is a gross misdemeanor.

(3) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife that the person charged was:

(a) Interfering with a person engaged in hunting outside the legally established hunting season; or

(b) Preventing or attempting to prevent unauthorized trespass on private property.

(4) The person raising a defense under subsection (3) of this section has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence.


[2001 c 253 30; 1998 c 190 24.]




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77.15.212
Damages due to violation of RCW 77.15.210 Civil action.
Any person who is damaged by any act prohibited in RCW 77.15.210 may bring a civil action to enjoin further violations, and recover damages sustained, including a reasonable attorneys' fee. The trial court may increase the award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the damages sustained. A party seeking civil damages under this section may recover upon proof of a violation by a preponderance of the evidence. The state of Washington may bring a civil action to enjoin violations of this section.


[2000 c 107 238.]




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77.15.220
Unlawful posting Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful posting if the individual posts signs preventing hunting or fishing on any land not owned or leased by the individual, or without the permission of the person who owns, leases, or controls the land posted.

(2) Unlawful posting is a misdemeanor.


[1998 c 190 25.]




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77.15.230
Department lands or facilities Unlawful use Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful use of department lands or facilities if the person enters upon, uses, or remains upon department-owned or department-controlled lands or facilities in violation of any rule of the department.

(2) Unlawful use of department lands or facilities is a misdemeanor.


[1999 c 258 6; 1998 c 190 26.]




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77.15.240
Unlawful use of dogs Public nuisance Penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful use of dogs if the person:

(a) Negligently fails to prevent a dog under the person's control from pursuing or injuring deer, elk, or an animal classified as endangered under this title;

(b) Uses the dog to hunt deer or elk; or

(c) During the closed season for a species of game animal or game bird, negligently fails to prevent the dog from pursuing such animal or destroying the nest of a game bird.

(2) Unlawful use of dogs is a misdemeanor. A dog that is the basis for a violation of this section may be declared a public nuisance.


[1998 c 190 30.]




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77.15.245
Unlawful practices Black bear baiting Exceptions Illegal hunting Use of dogs Exceptions Penalties.
(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of RCW 77.12.240, 77.36.020, 77.36.030, or any other provisions of law, it is unlawful to take, hunt, or attract black bear with the aid of bait.

(a) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the killing of black bear with the aid of bait by employees or agents of county, state, or federal agencies while acting in their official capacities for the purpose of protecting livestock, domestic animals, private property, or the public safety.

(b) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the establishment and operation of feeding stations for black bear in order to prevent damage to commercial timberland.

(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the director from issuing a permit or memorandum of understanding to a public agency, university, or scientific or educational institution for the use of bait to attract black bear for scientific purposes.

(d) As used in this subsection, "bait" means a substance placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, scattered, or otherwise used for the purpose of attracting black bears to an area where one or more persons hunt or intend to hunt them.

(2) Notwithstanding RCW 77.12.240, 77.36.020, 77.36.030, or any other provisions of law, it is unlawful to hunt or pursue black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx with the aid of a dog or dogs.

(a) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the killing of black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx with the aid of a dog or dogs by employees or agents of county, state, or federal agencies while acting in their official capacities for the purpose of protecting livestock, domestic animals, private property, or the public safety. A dog or dogs may be used by the owner or tenant of real property consistent with a permit issued and conditioned by the director.

(b) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the director from issuing a permit or memorandum of understanding to a public agency, university, or scientific or educational institution for the use of a dog or dogs for the pursuit, capture and relocation, of black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx for scientific purposes.

(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the director from issuing a permit or memorandum of understanding to a public agency, university, or scientific or educational institution for the use of a dog or dogs for the killing of black bear, cougar, or bobcat, for the protection of a state and/or federally listed threatened or endangered species.

(3)(a) Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section, the commission shall authorize the use of dogs only in selected areas within a game management unit to address a public safety need presented by one or more cougar. This authority may only be exercised after the commission has determined that no other practical alternative to the use of dogs exists, and after the commission has adopted rules describing the conditions in which dogs may be used. Conditions that may warrant the use of dogs within a game management unit include, but are not limited to, confirmed cougar/human safety incidents, confirmed cougar/livestock and cougar/pet depredations, and the number of cougar capture attempts and relocations.

(b) The department shall post on their internet web site the known details of all reported cougar/human, cougar/pet, or cougar/livestock interactions within ten days of receiving the report. The posted material must include, but is not limited to, the location and time of all reported sightings, and the known details of any cougar/livestock incidents.

(4) A person who violates subsection (1) or (2) of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. In addition to appropriate criminal penalties, the department shall revoke the hunting license of a person who violates subsection (1) or (2) of this section and order the suspension of wildlife hunting privileges for a period of five years following the revocation. Following a subsequent violation of subsection (1) or (2) of this section by the same person, a hunting license shall not be issued to the person at any time. (continued)