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One of Idaho's most impressive mule deer from 2015 poached

 

It was crash and burn from the beginning, though Gary Nix didn’t know it. The mule deer he was after was getting away and it was the last day of a late controlled deer hunt, he knew it was a big one. His son, Garrett, helped him kill the deer by shooting the trophy worthy mule deer buck that eventually, after multiple shots, died. The problem? Gary had a valid tag and permit; Garrett did not. Reports from some people with inside information said Gary kept missing the deer and his son then shot it.
 

Ignoring that tiny detail, the men celebrated and the story soon swept the social media circuit where the monster buck took center stage. Gary claimed the credit for the kill, boasting that the buck measured in at 242 4/8”.
 

Idaho poached mule deer on the cover of muley crazy magazine
The poached buck even made the cover of Muley Crazy magazine. Photo credit: Garrett Nix's Instagram page

It was even featured on the cover of Muley Crazy, gaining fame and momentum.
 

Idaho State Judiciary document on Garrett Nix
Source: Idaho State Judiciary

Behind the scenes, however, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) officers began investigating the mule deer harvest after receiving a tip that the buck, which was harvested in Bonneville County, Idaho, may actually have been illegal.
 

Garrett Nix with the poached buck at the Western Hunting Expo
Garrett Nix (far right), poses with the buck at the Western Hunting Expo in 2016. Photo credit: goHUNT.com

As IDFG officers continued to piece together evidence, the mule deer buck – and Gary Nix – continued down the “hunting fame” path. His hunt story was aired on a local hunting show and both Gary and Garrett traveled to the Western Hunting Expo in 2016 with their prize, basking in their ill-gained stardom.

Poached porky the deer winning a big buck contest

They even won a "Most Impressive Big Buck Contest."

While it took IDFG officers several months to complete their investigation of the incident, in April 2016, IDFG officers served Gary and Garrett Nix with a search warrant and charged them with the crime, according to the IDFG website. Both pleaded guilty on Nov. 21. Gary was sentenced to $190 in fines and restitution as well as a one year hunting license suspension; he was ordered to forfeit the mule deer buck. Garrett was sentenced to $2,202 in fines and restitution along with a three year hunting licenses suspension and 100 hours of community service.

Hopefully a lesson was learned here. In the end, both Gary and Garrett gained a different sort of “hunter fame” – the one that leaves a bad taste behind. 

 

 

 

22 Comments

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Kyleblaineswallow
Kyle S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 09:39:10 pm
Castle Rock, CO

Clint, buddy... I'm sure GoHunt is great. I don't really follow them or their stories much. I don't read news journals, or watch the news only if I agree with what they claim. I do it to try to stay informed on what is going on. I mentioned my opinions on poaching several times. I was simply stating that not all the facts have been provided in this case. Whether I agree with their coverage of this topic or not, I do appreciate that they try to keep people informed on current outdoor/hunting topics.

rutcrazzzzy
clint B. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 09:09:12 pm
Lindon
goHUNT INSIDER

Kyle, don't read there stories if you don't agree with there Journalism. we have heard you say little about the poaching & alot about what a poor job goHUNT has done on poaching articles. goHUNT ROCKS!!!! getting better everyday, Thanks guys.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 01:33:04 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

I totally hear where you're coming from Kyle and I agree it's tough to find the line. It's sort of like big news sources on TV covering a breaking story and then later on providing a follow-up to the story when more facts are released. And if we get more facts, we will cover them and add additions to this article, or cover it again in a new article. I didn't want to run a story earlier this fall when we had details or the rumors, but the court case was still pending. The court system was constantly updating that screenshot in the article on their website. At least now it was determined by the court that it was an illegal activity and those facts that they released (that the son shot the deer) are what led to his conviction. On other poaching cases we've ran, sometimes bringing attention to them helps will people bringing out additional facts, and with some cases that are they are trying to close and get names, sometimes publishing info on those pending cases may even lead to the conviction.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 01:25:18 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Haha. I also felt it was totally ironic that I was talking about your story, Brent. Here is the link to your story if others want to read it: https://www.gohunt.com/read/life/the-ethical-dilemma-of-doing-what-is-right

It is one of those very tough situations on what the law is.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 01:13:10 pm
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

It was a waste IMO Kyle. There are 7 of us in my family, that elk would have provided a lot of meat. There needs to be some sort of a regulation with regards to this. I actually have video of it, so there was plenty of evidence to support that I hadn't done anything, I just came upon it hunkered up in a ditch alongside the road. Obviously many scenarios could have played out in people's minds...such as it could have lived on three legs for many more years, let mother nature take it's course with regards to either mortality or predation. I did as much as I could to resolve the situation and feel good about that...rather than just keep driving and not caring at all.

Kyleblaineswallow
Kyle S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 01:06:22 pm
Castle Rock, CO

Brent,
Ya I can imagine that was really hard to see. it's a shame fish and game wouldn't come out and handle that.

Kyleblaineswallow
Kyle S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 12:45:02 pm
Castle Rock, CO

Brady,
I'm with you 100%. I'm not a journalist but I understand needing to publish hot topic stories. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't understand publishing a story when not all the facts are on the table. You mentioned that fish and game and the courts wouldn't release all the information... so why publish a half finished/told story? Nevertheless, I agree with you on all poaching issues.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 01:00:07 pm
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

Ironic...that "Guy" with the cow elk, was my story. It's a good story Kyle you should find it. That was an extremely tough day for me.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 12:27:38 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Hi Kyle. Thanks for reaching out. I totally 100% value what you are saying and I do agree with you on some of these things. I too feel like while this isn't a major "poaching" deal, because according to state laws that we all must follow, party hunting in Idaho is illegal and thus party hunting is poaching. Ethics always come into play in hunting, we ran a story that happened in Idaho where a cow elk was struck by a car. The elk was barely alive, had broken legs and the guy contacted F&G multiple times asking if someone could put the cow out of her misery because she was suffering on the side of the road, but it wasn't legal for the guy himself to shoot the cow and F&G wouldn't come and do it. So in that case, if he would have shot the cow, he would have been poaching. In this current poaching case, we are simply reporting the information we got from Idaho Fish and Game, which are the facts we must follow. They also claim this as a poaching case. We cover poaching cases all the time that we get from state agencies. An illegal activity in hunting is poaching. And there are lots of rumors floating around on what actually went down, which is why we will not publish that information, because they are rumors. We've had multiple calls to Idaho Fish and Game and the Bonneville Court system over the past year and they wouldn't release information. Information that is and has been public knowledge, we were told to go off of their report. Publishing rumors is not journalism. If we reported on all the emails, texts and messages we have gotten since July, that would have only been worse because they are all hearsay. They court has not and will not release the affidavit on the finer details. Would it help anything if we reported that there are rumors going on that it was trying to be kept a secret in the courts due to religion? It's just sad to see people taking a giant animal, getting the cover of magazine or taking the animal to a trade show to gain something from the public. It's like the Wyoming mule deer poaching case we ran last year. The guy claimed it was a mule deer at the expo, but later after being confronted and then finding out that he only had a whitetail tag, started to claim it was a whitetail buck and looked like a whitetail.

And in regards to the story about Jeremie Lewis... we never said he did anything illegal. If you hunt high fence, then say you shot it in a high fence. He was getting a lot of sponsorships over his bull and was promoting it as a wild bull to gain more fame and income. That is wrong and shouldn't be tolerated in hunting. It would be like raising a high fence whitetail, trying to keep the genetics mostly pure to pass a test and then using it to break the world record and trying to cover it up to not only gain fame, but also most likely a lot of money.

I'd totally like to discuss further if you'd like. Hope you have a great day.

Kyleblaineswallow
Kyle S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 12:05:54 pm
Castle Rock, CO

@gohunt It is irresponsible journalism on your part for putting out a story without all the facts just to start a firestorm. It reminds me of what you did last year with ol Jeremie Lewis. Which may have even been worse. He didn't do anything illegal but yet your article alone ruined him from what I understand. On the other hand @gohunt if you do have all the facts on this story, grow a sack, put your big boy britches on, lace up and just tell the truth(no here say). Everyone knows there's a video of the event. Get a hold of it, release it, and tell the real/entire story. Until then, I'm on the son's side.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 11:32:48 am
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

I agree Kyle. Having that one fact verified will really be a deciding factor on how I ultimately feel on this issue. I don't know if it's possible to get court records or not to see exactly what was determined.

Kyleblaineswallow
Kyle S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 11:47:35 am
Castle Rock, CO

Ok now Brent, you and I are on the same team. I despise poachers. All I'm saying is that I have a problem with how goHunt portrayed it. And no they didn't say it was wounded, but it was implied when they said, "...eventually, after multiple shots, died.." I may have misunderstood what was being written, but nor did I see on the fish and game quote that the dad ran out of ammo which then led the to the son shooting him. It seems that there is a lot of holes in this story. All I know is that if fish and game had everything they needed I would assume they wouldn't be dishing out such a measly fine like they did. I just think it's crazy how everyone is jumping down this kid's throats when there are still so many unknowns and "if that's what happened" in this story. It would interesting to hear the son's side of the story. Bc at the end of the day if he simply shot it bc his dad ran out of ammo and couldn't hit him, then I'm with you... crucify him.. however, if he was helping his dad "finish" the animal then I don't feel the son should have even been fined. Fact.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 11:06:16 am
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

On the IDFG story, it states the following:

"The investigation showed that Gary Nix had a valid tag and permit for the deer and began shooting at it, but when it did not fall he asked his son Garrett, who did not have a valid tag, to help him kill the deer to prevent it from getting away. "

I don't see anything about the animal being wounded or hit. It sounds like he wanted that deer, and after he ran out of ammo and couldn't hit it...then he asked his son to start unloading on it to make sure he could put his tag on it.

If this is how it went down, then him and his old man deserve a much stiffer penalty then they got. Smearing his name...well, he smeared every sportsman by not only committing the crime, but getting his mug on a magazine, and taking it to the hunt expo, and giving sportsman a bad impression to those 90% of the population that don't hunt...that we have to constantly prove ourselves to that hunting is a good and just thing. They see this, and it really sets us all back.

Kyleblaineswallow
Kyle S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 11:09:11 am
Castle Rock, CO

The way the story is written, the son finished off a wounded deer without a tag. But the dad did have a tag for the right season and in the right unit.. I'm just confused as to why everyone is trying to wreck this kid for simply finishing off a wounded animal. It is a very well known that guides will finish off the wounded animals of their clients. Yet, they are not considered poachers, their guiding permits aren't stripped, nor are any fines issued. I've heard that there may be more to this story than what was reported by you guys and if that's the case, it would be awesome to hear more details. I have a very hard time thinking that if any of you saw a suffering animal, and for whatever reason the individual with the tag wasn't able to finish him that you wouldn't do the same. If you disagree, and you say, "no I wouldn't shoot him" then I would assume you don't truely love these animals like you claim to. I don't know this kid. I literally read the story for the first time just yesterday and it seems that you are simply out to tell a half ass story to get views, subscribers, and attention. But I get it. That's business. But at the end of the day, this poor kid is no poacher.. at least according to the story I read that you guys put out there.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-02-2017 08:00:51 am
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

Just an FYI, if anyone is on FB there is a good conversation going there as well on this posted article on the GoHunt FB page.

lyle_peters
Lyle P. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 04:46:47 pm
Scottsdale, AZ, and Vancouver, WA
goHUNT INSIDER

What is the current tally for confirmed poached racks and mounts which have been so proudly displayed at the Western Hunting Expo in SLC? Nate Strong's 230" buck from WY, right. The Nix 242" buck from ID. Rossi from AK was SFW when busted for poaching but perhaps he never had time to ship his critters down to SLC for the Western Hunt Expo. Quite impressive collection of folks.

Stan S. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 11:51:59 am

The Idaho F&G report is pretty vague with some key details missing. It makes it sound like the tag holder missed the buck completely and the son shot it. The son admitted to finishing off the buck after the father had wounded it...still illegal, but a different narrative for sure.

reecemesserly
Reece M. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 11:38:04 am
Somewhere, AZ
goHUNT INSIDER

I'd love to see more into the investigation and how they got caught. Probably just greed and running their mouths.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 11:51:20 am
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

That's ridiculous Triston! Corrupt lawmakers doesn't help the situation. I always like to go look up people like this on Facebook to see what they are all about. This other guy who got caught poaching an elk for his dad not to long ago...can't remember his name. I looked on his FB site, and he had pictures and actually said on there that he shot his dad's elk for him. IDFG really needs to sleuth out these guys on social media, it's a valuable tool. MOre times then not I would imagine if these guys aren't too bright in poaching something, then they aren't too bright about keeping their mouth shut either.

drlstripeing74
david l. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 11:43:49 am
cortez colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

the fines weren't even a slap on the wrist!! steeper fines hopefully would make poachers think twice.

live2hunt13
Triston W. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 11:25:24 am
Blackfoot, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

Nice job on getting this story up so quick. Stories like these need to be shared more often in hopes to prevent more cases like this. GoHunt never disappoints in getting the latest news out there.

brentdaley7189
Brent D. - posted 2 years ago on 03-01-2017 11:25:49 am
Parma, Idaho
goHUNT INSIDER

Well...living in Idaho I can tell you that once again I'm not impressed with the fines that get doled out for these kinds of things. If someone shot a dog or cat they would get a much stiffer sentence. It's a shame how these sorts are the ones that always shed us hunters in a bad light. Especially when it starts getting plastered everywhere. When people harvest game illegally it takes from all of us, and from nature. More than likely that buck would have gotten away and spread his genes some more if not for being machine gunned to death it sounds like. On that note I'm glad they got caught...but still I'm very upset with the punishment they received. Stiffer penalties will help deter these sorts of acts. Even though it sounded like a crime of passion (buck fever)...peeps need to control themselves!