Three men convicted of using drone to poach mule deer
Three Nevada men are guilty of using a drone to harass a mule deer buck onto public land in order to kill it. The trophy size buck, which was spotted roaming along private land in Unit 242, was pushed by Bailey Thompson, James Ebert and Justin Ebert into a neighboring public land unit that none of the men even had a tag for, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).
While Thompson did possess a valid mule deer buck tag, it was not for the unit where the buck was killed. Not to mention that drones have been prohibited in the state since 2016.
“I’m not quite sure what these men were thinking,” said Game Warden Captain Jake Kreamer. “They went to the trouble of illegally using a drone to chase this animal off private land only to shoot it in the wrong unit. All their efforts only compounded their trouble.”
The investigation began after a public tip. Officials were able to obtain enough evidence through multiple search warrants to convict all three men. Thompson was convicted of the unlawful killing of a big game animal, unlawful possession of a big game animal and conspiracy. The Eberts were convicted of possession of a big game animal and conspiracy. All will split a $15,000 civil penalty for their crimes and will forfeit hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for the next five years in all states that are part of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. They also lose all bonus points accrued for big game animals in Nevada.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Kreamer. “These men saw a buck they wanted and decided the rules didn’t pertain to them. They knew they were in the wrong unit. They knew using the drone to push the animal was illegal. They just thought they wouldn’t get caught and now they’re stuck with some pretty steep fines and penalties.”
To report wildlife crime, sportsmen and members of the public can call the OGT hotline at (800) 992-3030 or use the new NDOW Tip app. The NDOW Tip app provides citizens the ability to submit anonymous tips, photos or video to the Nevada Department of Wildlife via text messaging. NDOW Tip is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the agency’s website at www.ndow.org.