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CA: Three accept plea bargains in illegal hunting case

January 29, 2010

Three accept plea bargains in illegal hunting case

Three men cited last spring for shooting 16 doves, a wood duck and two pregnant deer in Tehama County have accepted plea bargains convicting them on poaching charges.

Christopher Raabe, 26, and Joshwell Gibson, 27, both of Chico, and Douglas Smith, 28, of Sacramento were arrested on May 23 after the Department of Fish and Game conducted a night flight looking for illegal hunting in Tehama and Shasta counties.

While flying over a ranch in Vina, warden pilot Jeff Veal saw lights from vehicles that appeared to indicate an illegal night hunt.

Wardens on the ground investigated and found the three defendants with the illegally killed animals in the back of their truck.

Deer, dove and duck seasons didn't open for several months.

Wardens said after the bust that one doe was close to giving birth to twins. The other was carrying a single fetus.

It is illegal to hunt female deer except in very restricted situations in California, and regulations never authorize shooting female animals that are pregnant or nursing young.

Raabe pleaded no contest last week to two counts of unlawful possession of deer, one count of unlawful possession of dove and one count of unlawful possession of waterfowl, wardens said.

He was ordered to pay $4,195 in fines and to forfeit the firearms he used in the crime.

He also was placed on probation for three years and ordered not to hunt during that time.

Gibson pleaded no contest to two counts of unlawfully taking deer. He was sentenced to pay $2,675 in fines and also was ordered to forfeit his firearms.

On Aug. 18, Smith pleaded guilty to the unlawful taking of dove out of season.

He was sentenced to pay $785 in fines.

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