Poaching Big Game Now a Felony

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The Legislature recently passed a change to the law, effective October 1, 2003, which a person indicted for poaching a big game animal to face a category E felony charge instead of the former gross misdemeanor charge.

A category E Felony increases the fine from a maximum of $2000 to a maximum of $5000. Another increase is the amount of jail time from a maximum of one year to a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years. The new law also makes prosecuting indicted individuals who flee the state easier.

In addition to the criminal penalties, a maximum civil penalty of $5000 remains in effect for killing or possessing big game unlawfully.

All vehicles and equipment used in the unlawful taking of the big game animal are subject to forfeiture. The person’s hunting license may be revoked and the state may refuse issuance of a new license to a convicted person for no more than three years as well as revoking that person’s privilege to apply for a big game tag for a period of not more than 10 years. Pursuant to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, all participating states may honor Nevada’s revocation of hunting privileges.

Big game animals covered by this change in the law include mule deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain lions and black bear.

To report a wildlife violation, call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-992-3030 or go to www.operationgamethief.org and file a report on line. You may remain anonymous.