After an El Dorado County wildlife officer noticed an automatic deer feeder on a California property within his district, he decided to keep tabs on it. Thanks to his careful observation, he was able to nab poacher William Vaden, 70, who was using the feeder to bait deer, and eventually poached a trophy class buck on the property. However, after a thorough investigation, Vaden confessed to “killing deer out of season with the aid of bait and falsifying validation signatures on deer tags,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
“Baiting cases involve persistent investigative work on the part of a wildlife officer,” said CDFW’s Lt. Stacey LaFave. “Early mornings, long hours of surveillance and keen observations are required to make a case.”
According to CDFW, Vaden will serve 90 days of alternative sentences and is required to pay a $20,000 fine to Fish and Game Code Trophy enhancements. He will forfeit “most of the seized items” and serve three years’ summary court probation. He cannot hunt during his probation term and “is subject to search and seizure of his person, home, automobile and electronic devices for evidence of unlawful hunting.”
Did the punishment fit the crime?