Reports detail extensive poaching ring in Washington, Oregon

CENTRALIA, Wash. -- Case reports from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife say the agency has uncovered an extensive poaching ring that has killed bears, cougars, bobcats, deer and elk in southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon.

The Chronicle newspaper of Centralia obtained the documents through a public records request. The reports, which are being reviewed by the Skamania County Prosecutor's Office for potential charges, identified seven people as being involved in the illegal hunts.

According to the documents, the hunters often used dogs — sometimes as many as 11. The 50-plus poaching expeditions date back to 2015, and the vast majority took place within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Authorities believe more than 100 animals were killed.

The investigators said they expect to recommend charges against more people.