Three New Mexico Poachers Convicted for Using Attack Dogs to Take Down Elk, 17 Total Charges

by Emily Morgan

A New Mexico court has convicted three poachers in the southern part of the state after they used attack dogs for hunting elk illegally.

According to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, a judge convicted Otero County residents Alix Miller, Kasen Flotte, and Jenna Livers on a total of 17 counts related to the illegal poaching of elk and deer.

Before the incident, the states’ game wardens had investigated the poachers. Later, an anonymous tip from a resident fortified their case.

“It is great how one tip can turn into a much larger case that was such an egregious poaching case by multiple people,” said NMGF conservation officer Kurt Felix. “Modern poaching is rarely about feeding a family, and it should not be confused with hunting. Hunting is a legal activity, and poaching is a crime.”

Officer Felix first reported that Miller was illegally hunting elk in July 2019. Later, other reports flooded in claiming that Miller was using dogs to attack and corner bull elk so he could shoot them at close range.

Later, the investigators discovered footage from March 2019 showing Miller, Livers, and Flotte commanding their dogs to chase a bull elk. In the video footage, viewers can see the dogs holding the elk down as the hunters approach the bull and shoot it repeatedly with .22s. The hunters then left the dead bull elk to rot.

“Subsequent reports corroborated that two additional bull elk and one mule deer buck suffered the same fate at the hands of these individuals,” NMGF explained in a press release.

New Mexico poachers slammed for illegally killing elk, lose hunting privileges for 10 years

According to the department, it’s illegal to use dogs to hunt or pursue elk, deer, pronghorn, and turkey in New Mexico. It is also against the law to shoot an elk with a caliber as small as .22. Moreover, it’s a felony to leave elk meat to decompose.

In addition to all these charges, the three hunters also killed the animals out of season. They also didn’t have a hunting license at the time.

When it was said and done, a court convicted all three poachers of seven misdemeanor violations and ten fourth-degree felonies, including waste of game, conspiracy to commit a felony, and tampering with evidence.

Specifically, Miller must pay $825 in fine and be on supervised probation for four years and six months. Flotte and Livers received three years of supervised probation. In addition, Flotte must pay an additional $565.

All three poachers also had their hunting and fishing privileges revoked for the next decade. Additionally, since New Mexico is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, those revocations will also be in place for every state except Nebraska and Hawaii.