Six charged in one of the biggest poaching busts in state history

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CALIFORNIA mule deer. DFW photo.
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BY MIKE STEVENS

NEVADA COUNTY— Six Nevada County men have been charged with a laundry list of offenses centered around deer poaching activities in Nevada County including shooting dozens of deer in residential areas at night. According to a story in the Sacramento Bee, the group led by Bradley Chilton poached deer for several months in 2023 using vehicle headlights and flashlights, and among the items confiscated by authorities were a 7mm rifle and both 12- and 20-gauge shotguns.

In processing the deer, the poachers allegedly kept only the most valuable parts including hides and antlers, leaving the rest to rot in the field. They also conspired to forge and alter the information on hunting tags in an attempt to conceal their actions.

As a result of an investigation involving the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), District Attorney Jesse Wilson charged six individuals including Chilton, Travis Bort, Trevor Martini, James Brasier, Jon Pasadava and Mikayla Pasadava with felony conspiracy to commit poaching charges in the Nevada County Court, and Danielle Champeau was charged with helping Chilton evade authorities. Chilton was also charged for attempting to escape police pursuit and with the illegal possession of a firearm.

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“These charges relate to anything but hunting,” CDFW legal division captain Patrick Foy told the Sacramento Bee. “Left unchecked, egregious deer poaching from a geographically-limited area [could] begin to affect the local deer population.”

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