More than 100 animals illegally killed by poachers

10 people are under investigation in the multi-state case

In this Jan. 18, 2017, photo provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, elk feed at the Wenaha Wildlife Area near Troy, Ore. A heavy snowfall this winter in the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the West has caused travel delays and other problems for people, but wildlife are also suffering, from deer and elk whose food sources are buried under snow and ice to cougars that had to forage in an Oregon town. (Keith Kohl/ Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ten people are under investigation in a multi-state poaching case where more than 100 animals were killed for their antlers or hides and left to waste.

Captain Jeff Wickersham with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. (KOIN)
Captain Jeff Wickersham with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. (KOIN)

“This is the largest case that I know of in this area, it might even be the largest in the history of the state,” Captain Jeff Wickersham with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

The Oregon State Police and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife began their investigation in late 2016. Since that time, the agencies served nearly 20 search warrants that turned up deer, elk, bear, 4 vehicles, firearms and hunting equipment.

Cell phone video from the poachers obtained by police shows them shooting big game animals at point blank range and using dogs to finish the job, then leaving the animals to rot.

“These people were simply there for the thrill of the kill,” Wickersham said. “This was all about killing and that’s all it was.”

Authorities said several of the people being investigated have previously been convicted of big game hunting violations.

Officials with WDFW said the suspects are believed to hunt for big game in closed areas during a closed season, using spotlights, dogs and a big game transport tag. Many of the animals — including deer, elk, bear, cougar and bobcats — are left to waste.

“These are not hunters,” Wickersham said. “These individuals are not part of the hunting public that actually take conservation in to mind when they go afield.”

Investigators said the poachers killed those animals in closed areas, during closed season, in excess of the legal limit.

“This wasn’t one or two animals. This wasn’t ten animals. This wasn’t twenty,” Wickersham said. “It was more than that and that in and of itself is a shocking and staggering number.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact either WDFW or the Oregon State Police.

WARNING: This video contains graphic images some may find disturbing