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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2007

NV - Arizonan found guilty of hunting violations

An out-of-state resident has been found guilty of the crime of unlawful waste of game, called "wanton waste" in Reno.

According to a Nevada Department of Wildlife report, Erik William Swanson of Phoenix, Ariz., was found guilty of wanton waste and will be sentenced in about 30 days in Reno Justice Court. Swanson faces up to six months in Washoe County Jail and a fine of up to $500 in addition to the loss of all hunting privileges in the state.

"People who waste these animals are not sportsmen, they are criminals," said Rob Buonamici, chief game warden in Reno. "We are particularly disturbed when criminals masquerade as hunters and waste precious Nevada resources."

The specifics of the incident started on Aug. 27, 2005 when Swanson illegally shot a doe antelope while hunting in unit 014 in Northern Washoe County with a valid buck tag.

Although he knew that he shot and killed the doe, Swanson decided to leave it to rot. Several hunters witnessed the shooting and informed game wardens that investigated the case, and a successful investigation and prosecution followed. The conviction by the Washoe County District Attorney's office comes on the heels of a significant increase in wildlife crime across the state this year.

NDOW seeks clues on big-game poaching cases

Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens are seeking the public's help to solve a substantial increase in the number of poached big game animals across the state.

Game wardens have discovered many poached animals around the state throughout the hunting season.

Near Battle Mountain, game wardens found four poached mule deer.

In Lincoln County, wardens are investigating reports of three cow elk poached.

Game wardens also discovered several mule deer poached in Washoe County. All these cases are in addition to individual animals sporadically found in other parts of the state.

More alarming to wardens is the disturbing trend of groups of poached animals found killed and left to waste. In Elko County, wardens are investigating a report of three poached elk and a group of five poached deer.

"We are used to seeing some poachers pretending to be hunters during the open season," said Rob Buonamici, chief game warden in Reno. "But the concentration of some of these poached animals is alarming. Each and every animal killed without a tag is a felony, which we take very seriously. We intend to use all our resources to apprehend the persons responsible for these crimes."

Along with these extraordinary cases, wardens are also seeing an upswing in more traditional wildlife crimes, such as loaded guns in vehicles, improperly punched tags and so-called party hunting.

"We are getting many spike bucks killed mistakenly by doe hunters. We have had several cases of people mistakenly killing multiple animals. We always see these kinds of cases year after year, but this year there seems to be more of everything," said Game Warden Lieutenant Jerry Smith.

As cases of theft, poaching and assault keep Nevada's 31 field game wardens working overtime, game wardens are seeing a corresponding increase in wildlife crimes of all kinds putting even more pressure on Nevada's wildlife, according to Buonamici.

Game wardens are asking hunters in the field to report suspicious activity and wildlife crimes to Operation Game Thief (OGT) at 1-800-992-3030. Only through the public's help can game wardens protect wildlife.

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