More than 20 officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) issued six search warrants as part of a wide-ranging poaching investigation in northwest Washington. They are seeking suspects and witnesses regarding the poaching of two bull elk and one mountain lion.
“We were able to put together solid cases on people that have prior history with Fish & Wildlife violations and that have been likely engaging in these sorts of activities for many years. It’s a tight-knit group … It was a sophisticated kind of criminal activity,” Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Russ Mullins told the Skagit Valley Herald.
Officers confiscated one elk rack, elk meat, the mountain lion hide, a truck, cellphones and photos, a rifle and other equipment.
The elk poaching took place during a closed season between December 2016 and February 2017. A suspect allegedly took the mountain lion did so by using hounds but did not possess a license or tag. Authorities are yet to charge any suspects but Mullins says they all have criminal histories involving poaching violations.
This is the third poaching case to have evolved within the last few weeks: one involved in Kentucky and one involving two TV show hunters who claimed an elk in the wrong hunting district.
(Photos courtesy WDFW Wildlife Police)