An Elverta man is now paying a heavy price for the unethical take of California wildlife – killing deer out of season with the aid of bait and falsifying validation signatures on deer tags. William Vaden, 70, was recently convicted of several poaching related offenses after killing a deer on a property he owned in El Dorado County. He was sentenced under a recent law enacted to increase penalties associated with poaching a trophy class game mammal.
Vaden’s actions came to light after an El Dorado County wildlife officer observed what appeared to be an automatic deer feeder on a property within his patrol district. For more than a year, the officer kept an eye on the place to see if the illegal deer feeding was for the purpose of poaching. It was. After a diligent investigation was conducted, the suspect was presented with the evidence and confessed to placing the feeder to bait deer, as well as ultimately killing a very large trophy class deer on the property.
“Baiting cases involve persistent investigative work on the part of a wildlife officer,” said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Lt. Stacey LaFave. “Early mornings, long hours of surveillance and keen observations are required to make a case.”
Vaden pled no contest to baiting the deer and unlawful take of deer out of season and admitted the trophy allegation. He will serve 90 days of alternative sentencing, pay a $20,000 fine pursuant to Fish and Game Code Trophy enhancements, forfeit most of the seized items, serve three years’ summary court probation and is subject to search and seizure of his person, home, automobile and electronic devices for evidence of unlawful hunting. He may not hunt during the term of probation.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife thanks Deputy District Attorney Erin Tognetti of the El Dorado District Attorney’s office for her efforts on the successful prosecution.
If you witness a poaching or polluting incident or any fish and wildlife violation, or have information about such a violation, immediately dial the toll-free CalTIP number (888) 334-2258, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or go to the CalTIP web page for more options.