An Eatonville man has pleaded guilty to 17 counts of bear baiting.

For years James Erickson, 52, led the animals to a spot between Winthrop and Mazama where they became easy targets for him and others. The set-up was so elaborate his own technology helped convict him.

Erickson owned a cabin deep in the woods where wildlife agents say he visited every two weeks, with dozens of donuts in tow.

They were used, along with other food and scraps, at bear bait - setting up the animals for an easy kill.

Taking his bear easily from the adirondack chair off the back of the cabin, says Officer Dan Christensen with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. We had at one time 12 bears coming into this site.

Video and pictures from a trail camera Erickson set up off the back porch of his cabin captured bears' every move and every meal. He and other friends and family used the footage to stalk and often kill bears right in his own back yard.

They had a chair that they kind of designated the bear hunting chair, says Christensen. It's kind of a fair chase issue. It's not very sporting to put that bait out.

Officers say Erickson is a guy who should've known better. He worked as a manager at the Cabela's in Lacey, and should be well-versed the law against bear baiting.

Officers obtained a search warrant at Erickson's house where they collected hundreds of thousands of pictures and videos documenting his exploits.

Wildlife officers believe Erickson's been baiting bears in the area for years, and in doing so, creating a much bigger bear problem for people who live in the area.

During that same time we were having a lot of bear calls. They really love a donut more than they fear humans, said Christensen.

James Erickson pleaded guilty to 17 counts of bear baiting. Most of his 180 days jail sentence are suspended, so he will likely only spend a few days behind bars. As part of the deal, charges against others were dropped.

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