In New Mexico, many people enjoy hunting wild game for sport and food. However, people who hunt without a license or out of season might be charged with poaching. If they hunt trophy animals for the sole purpose of taking the horns and leave the rest of the animals behind to waste, they can be charged with a felony. Here is a look at some of the penalties that poachers might face if convicted.
Allowing animals to waste
Hunters who kill a pronghorn, turkey, elk, deer, Barbary sheep, ibex, or bighorn sheep are prohibited from leaving the animal carcasses behind to waste while only taking the animal’s head or horns. Instead, they must take all edible portions of the animal. Wasting game is a 4th-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison. People who are convicted may also be fined up to $5,000 and have their weapons taken through civil forfeiture.
Penalties for poaching
When animals are not left to waste but people poach game, they can face criminal and civil penalties. The criminal penalties for poaching depend on whether the person has any prior convictions on their record. For a first poaching conviction, you might face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. A second conviction may result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. A third poaching conviction can result in up to one year in jail with a minimum mandatory 90 days and a fine of up to $6,000. In addition, substantial civil penalties may be assessed for poaching trophy animals in the following amounts:
• $10,000 – Elk, deer, bighorn sheep, ibex, or oryx
• $8,000 – Pronghorn
• $6,000 – Barbary sheep
• $500 – Turkey
• $150 – Trout
Poaching is treated seriously in New Mexico. People who are caught poaching or wasting wild game can face serious penalties, including substantial jail sentences and stiff fines. People who are facing these charges may benefit from talking to experienced criminal defense attorneys about the strategies that they might utilize to combat the allegations.