Operation Game Thief is Working
It has been a busy couple of weeks for Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW) game wardens in Elko County, as sportsmen have reported several possible wildlife violations that have resulted in both investigations and citations being issued.

Jerry Smith, NDOW game warden and acting warden supervisor for NDOW's Eastern Region says, "We are seeing a lot more reporting by citizens who are witnessing violations in the field and this is keeping our wardens very busy. While we are disappointed to hear of so many violations, it is good to see ethical sportsman looking out for Nevada's wildlife."

According to Smith there have been 14 misdemeanor citations issued to hunters, with the most common being loaded weapons in a vehicle and failure to properly punch deer tags.

In Nevada it is illegal to have a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle, which includes ATVs. A gun is considered loaded when there is a live round in the firing chamber.

Hunters must also punch their tag immediately upon harvesting an animal. Smith explains, "As soon as an animal has been harvested, hunters need to punch out or remove portions of the tag identifying the date of the harvest, the gender and if a buck, the number of points on each antler. They then need to write in the unit where the animal was taken."

Smith continues, "The tag must be firmly attached to the animal as soon as the hunter reaches his or her truck, ATV or other means of transportation, or camp, whichever comes first."

Other citations included the transfer of a deer tag and unplugged shotguns on waterfowl hunts. There have been seven abandoned or mistaken deer kills, one of which has been cleared with a citation issued for wanton waste, which was the result of an Operation Game Thief (OGT) report.

Another citation that resulted from an OGT report was to a hunter for killing an excess limit of big game. In this case the violation was filed as a misdemeanor punishable by fine and civil penalty, forfeiture of hunting equipment used in the taking of the deer, and loss of hunting privileges.

Two hunters also turned themselves in after harvesting the wrong sex deer with their valid deer tag. In both cases the hunters had properly taken care of the animals, which were then donated to Friends in Service Helping (FISH) where the meat will be distributed to those who need it.

To report a wildlife crime, call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-992-3030.

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