A Toutle man is facing felony poaching charges after a Washington Department Fish and Wildlife investigation of four dead deer found in the Toutle Valley in late September.
WDFW forwarded the charges of unlawful hunting of big game to the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office this week. No charges have formally been filed, however.
Mathew Lipscomb, who’s in his mid-40s, is accused of unlawfully killing a doe, two fawns and a young buck.
The case stems from a Sept. 29 report by an anonymous caller, who reported seeing a vehicle using a spotlight after dark and hearing multiple shots, according to WDFW.
Officer Blaine Corey found Lipscomb in a high-centered Jeep with its lights turned off in a clear cut near the end of South Toutle Road, according to WDFW. Corey found Lipscomb had been drinking alcohol and had a spotlight and two rifles. He denied shooting any animals.
Corey arrested Lipscomb for driving under the influence. A preliminary search of the area turned up no other evidence.
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The next morning Sgt. Patrick Anderson searched the area and found a doe and two fawns dead in a clear cut. Officers also found a young buck dead in the same clear cut.
With a warrant, Corey searched Lipscomb’s vehicle and found deer hair and blood on the hood and bumper. In the back was a length of rope with blood and hair on it. Officers also found spent shell casings from both rifles in the cab of the Jeep.
Based on the investigation, officers believe Lipscomb killed the three animals in Sept. 29 and that when officer Corey arrived, he dumped the deer close to the road, turned off all the lights and attempted to back up on the road.
Lipscomb’s vehicle and rifles have been seized for forfeiture.
Becky Bennett, WDFW spokeswoman, said the agency is thankful for the people who report suspicious activity because these cases wouldn’t be solved without them.