Man arrested for poaching deer
Two weeks after finding a rotting mule deer carcass in Smith Valley, game wardens arrested a 22-year-old Yerington man.
Reid Varble, Nevada Division of Wildlife game warden, said a young buck had been shot twice and not butchered. It was discovered on Labor Day, Sept. 4, by an archery hunter in the area of north Smith Valley.
Killing deer out of season is a gross misdemeanor, Varble said, so NDOW offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
While investigating the scene, two 22-caliber bullets were recovered from the deer and tire track impressions were taken from the site, Varble said. A metal detector was later used to find shell casings on the ground.
“I went down the road to a feedlot to tell them about the killing and they said they had a deer shot behind the office there. I checked it out and there wasn’t much left of that deer,” Varble said. “We felt that with the bullets, the shell casings and the unique, small, tire tracks, we had pretty good information go go on.”
When Varble and another game warden went back to the feed lot to drop off flyers, they noticed a vehicle, a 1986 Mazda, with small tires. Comparing tire tracks produced a match.
The owner is Alberto Guillen, who worked at the feedlot.
Investigators found matching gun shells in the vehicle and a 22-caliber rifle that the suspect voluntarily turned over to authorities.
Varble said Guillen eventually admitted killing both deer.
“His only excuse was that he didn’t like the deer because they jump in front of his headlights at night,” Varble said. “The reason he didn’t take the meat is because he doesn’t like to eat it.”
Guillen, 22, was arrested and booked in Yerington, charged with two counts of unlawful killing of a deer, a gross misdemeanor, wanton waste and hunting without a license.
He is currently out on $5,000 bail after spending three days in jail and will face arraignment Sept. 29 in the Smith Valley Justice Court.
The penalty for a gross misdemeanor, if convicted, is one year in jail and a criminal fine of $2,000 for each count, Varble said. A civil penalty for the for the loss of the animal can range from $500 to $5,000. Varble said the agency will for a $1,000 fine for each deer.
Arresting the alleged poacher was one of the first “textbook cases” Varble has seen as a game warden for NDOW.
“It’s the first time that it’s all come together like it’s supposed to,” he said. “We want people to know we do go after poachers.”
Mule deer season opens Oct. 7 for most of the state, but here it’s later – Nov. 4 to Dec. 3 – Varble said.
To report poaching, call Operation Game Thief, (800) 992-3030. Callers will remain anonymous.