FT. SUMNER – Wayne “Jessie” Small, of Portales, New Mexico was charged with several counts following the unlawful killing of a mule deer buck. The case originated from a call to Operation Game Thief, by a concerned citizen who had seen the buck shot by an individual in a Ford pickup.

The incident occurred on January 19, 2013 when according to the witness someone in a tan/brown Ford pickup shot and killed a buck mule deer in a field approximately 4 miles south of US 60/84 near Ft. Sumner. The pickup left the area leaving the carcass of a 3 X 3 buck in the field. The witness was able to write down the license plate of the truck and report it to the OGT hotline.

Department officers were able to run the license plate number which showed the owner of the truck to be Small. During the investigation by a Conservation officer Small admitted to shooting the buck from the truck and leaving it in the field.  Small told the officer that he left the buck in the field because he only had a doe license in his possession.

Small was charged with several wildlife crimes: hunting without a valid license, wrong bag limit of deer, waste of game, and shooting from a roadway. Under a plea agreement the first three charges were dropped; Small ended up paying court costs and legal fees for the shooting from a roadway charge.

Anyone with information on poaching can call Operation Game Thief toll free at (800) 432-GAME (4263).  Callers can also contact Operation Game Thief online.  Callers remain anonymous and can earn rewards if the information leads to charges being filed.