By Travis Smola
The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division has charged four people with poaching at least 27 big game animals in a case that may result in huge fines.
In a press release, the OSP F&W said criminal citations were issued to 34-year-old William Hollings, 39-year-old Nicholas Lisenby, 33-year-old Eric Hamilton and 37-year-old Amanda Hughes for alleged crimes that crossed county lines to Linn, Lane, Lincoln, Tillamook and Polk counties.
Authorities believe at least 27 big game animals including elk, deer, bear, mountain lions and bobcats were allegedly poached by the group. The OSP is keeping the exact details of these poaching incidents quiet until they go to court, but the press release states that a search warrant executed on Hollings’ home in Philomath led to warrants being issued for the other suspects.
Search warrants for the others were served on April 25. The penalties for the alleged crimes could be very steep. Under new rules for increased fines for poaching crimes, the four could be facing as much as $162,700 in restitution payments for the illegally taken animals as well as the loss of their hunting and fishing privileges.
Wildlife officials are thanking a tip called into the state’s Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line.
“We had an anonymous member of the public lodge the original complaint,” Senior Trooper Jim Andrews said in the release. “He’s the reason we got this case going and he’s going to get some hunting preference points.”
Oregon’s TIP line offers incentives in the form of cash or preference points for any report that leads to arrests or citations in wildlife crime. The suspects in this case were not taken into custody, but were issued criminal citations.