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Dozens of Poached California Deer: 6 People Charged With Conspiracy

In one of the state's biggest poaching cases in years, half a dozen people face felony charges for an alleged killing spree of deer.

trophy mule deerThe species of deer poached is not confirmed by court documents; (photo/Shutterstock)
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A group in Northern California has been charged with conspiracy over the alleged killings of dozens of deer.

Over several months in 2023, the group roamed through residential neighborhoods at night, using bows or rifles to poach animals for parts, according to Nevada County court documents. District Attorney Jesse Wilson has brought several hunting charges against them. Those include the illegal use of flashlights or car headlights to aid in spotting and targeting the animals.

The group was allegedly led by Bradley Chilton, 37, who tried to escape police in a vehicle, court documents said. The other five defendants include Travis Bort, 37; Trevor Martini, 33; James Brasier, 28; Jon Pasadava, 30; and Mikayla Pasadava, 27.

A seventh defendant, Danielle Champeau, 40, also faces a felony charge for trying to help Chilton evade police.

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In some cases, the alleged poachers took only “the head, hide, antlers, or horns, leaving the body to go needlessly to waste,” court documents said. The defendants illegally sold these valuable deer parts and conspired to exchange and falsify hunting tags and permits, according to police.

Chilton faces additional felony charges of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon. Police found him in possession of a 7mm Ruger Bolt action rifle, a 20-gauge Mossberg pump action shotgun, and a 12-gauge Benelli semi-automatic shotgun.

It’s likely one of California’s biggest deer poaching cases in many years, the Sacramento Bee reported. It’s unclear exactly how many deer were allegedly killed by the group, but court documents suggest they may have killed dozens.

“These charges relate to anything but hunting,” Patrick Foy, captain of the California Fish and Wildlife Department’s legal division, told the newspaper. “This is the type of activity that’s well within the definition of poaching.”

Representatives with California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.


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