Nevada Men Sentenced for Felony Poaching, Hefty Fines to be Paid
Two Reno men pled guilty to killing two bull elk without a valid tag Monday at the 4th Judicial District Court for Elko County stemming from an incident that occurred in November 2010.
Marty Hall, 45, and Larry Hall, 65, each pled guilty to a gross misdemeanor of killing or possessing a bull elk without a valid tag. The men had shot two bull elk in the original incident more than a year ago.
Marty Hall was assessed a $1,000 fine, a civil penalty of $2,500, $200 meat storage fee, and he forfeited a 2003 Yamaha Kodiak ATV. Larry Hall was also assessed a $1,000 fine, a $5,000 civil fine, a $2,000 civil forfeiture and $200 meat storage fee.
“This was a complex case to investigate and ultimately solve, but we take any big game poaching very seriously,” said Rob Buonamici, chief game warden with NDOW. “This is a serious crime, and these men knew better.”
The original incident took place on Nov. 6, 2010, when Marty Hall and Larry Hall were hunting with a party with three other men, Frank Koski, 86, John Koski, 50, and Andrew Koski, 48, near Wilson Creek, just south of the Idaho state line. At least 16 witnesses observed the group of men as they engaged in suspicious activities that left two bull elk shot, with one left to rot in the field. Marty Hall eventually confessed to shooting one of the bull elk, despite not having a tag. The suspects then used a legally obtained bull elk tag to transport one of the two poached elk, with a trophy 6×4 antler rack, back to Reno. The second elk, a large 6×6 bull, was left to rot.
Nevada, Colorado and Idaho game wardens spent several days collecting evidence and gathering witness statements. From the statements and evidence collected, five search warrants were issued by Nevada District and
Colorado Court Judges. DNA evidence from the crime scenes and residences showed that the elk meat in possession by Frank Koski and John Koski matched that of the poached elk at the scene.
After several months, an Idaho Game and Fish scent detection dog recovered a rifle that was hidden by Marty Hall. Forensics showed that the bullets fired from the weapon matched the bullets found in the Elk.
“We had 16 witnesses to certain aspects of this case who we are thankful for coming forward with information,” said Game Warden Fred Esparza who investigated the case. “This case is a statement of how our hunting community is intolerant of poaching.”
The other people involved in the crime had already pled guilty to several violations. Nov. 14, 2011 both John Koski and Frank Koski entered a plea of “no-contest” to gross misdemeanors of possessing an elk without a valid tag.
The men were each assessed a $1,000 fine, a $2,000 civil penalty, and a $25 court assessment fee. On July 25, 2011 Andy Koski plead guilty to hindering a game warden and paid $632 in fines and assessments.
The total fines, penalties and assessments for all the charges totaled about $18,632, plus the forfeiture of an ATV.
Sportsmen and members of the public can report wildlife violations to Operation Game Thief at (800) 992-3030. To learn more about game wardens and wildlife in Nevada visit NDOW on the web at http://www.ndow.org.