No tag? Don't shoot!

Upper Snake Region

Trophy atypical buck
Creative Commons Licence

In the fall of 2015 Idaho Fish and Game Officers received information that a very large mule deer buck harvested in November in Bonneville County may have been taken illegally. The deer was harvested on the last day of a late controlled deer hunt. The buck was featured on the cover of a popular hunting magazine, a story about the harvest of the buck was aired on a local hunting show, it was entered and won a big buck contest and it was the topic of numerous social media posts.

Officers began the investigation into the incident which culminated with the execution of a search warrant in April of 2016. The warrant was served at the home of Gary and Garrett Nix of Rigby, Idaho. 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. Both men fired multiple shots before the deer was finally fatally wounded.

On November 21, 2016 Gary Nix, 53 and his son Garrett Nix, 26 both of Rigby plead guilty in Bonneville County to taking the buck unlawfully. Gary Nix was sentenced to $190 in fines and restitution, a one year hunting license suspension and forfeiture of the mule deer buck. Garrett Nix was sentenced to $2,202 fines and restitution, a three year hunting license suspension and 100 hours of community service.

Idaho is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which means that if an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license is revoked by any of the 42 member states; all the remaining states will revoke the same license or privilege for the same time period.

Anyone with information about a wildlife violation are encouraged to “Make the Call” and contact the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous, and they may be eligible for a reward.

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