A Northern California man was reportedly fined $20,000 this week for illegally baiting and killing a trophy deer on his property outside of the hunting season in 2018.

William Valden, 70, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges Tuesday and will serve time through a work project or wear an ankle bracelet for violating the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s trophy animal rules, the Los Angeles Times reported.

California Fish and Wildlife game warden Dave Moskat said he kept an eye on Valden’s property after he noticed in 2017 what appeared to be a camouflaged feeder that dispensed food to lure animals. In California, an animal must be hunted through a “fair chase,” not baited by grain.

Valden had purchased the required “deer tag” permit and reported where and when he shot the deer, but he eventually admitted that he lied about shooting the deer before the season ended and forged the required signature of a department official who had previously signed off on his legal kills, the report said.

Valden hasn’t commented on the fine.

CAlthough there’s no evidence Valden has done this before, Lt. Stacey LaFave told the Times, “for a lot of those people that commit poaching crimes, it’s kind of a way of life for them.”


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