Hobbs Man Fined $10,000 in Poaching Case

Staff Report

The Associated Press

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - A Hobbs man convicted of poaching a mule deer has been ordered to pay the state $10,000 in civil damages.

Magistrate Jack Bailey handed down the punishment to Bradley Smith on Tuesday. It's the maximum penalty under a 3-year-old law that allows the state to seek reimbursement for the loss of a trophy game animal.

The 26-year-old Smith plans on appealing the ruling.

Smith pleaded no contest in March 2007 to a charge of illegal possession of a deer with 28-inch-wide antlers. The antlers were later scored at over 202 inches, qualifying the deer as a trophy animal.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish said the $10,000 penalty is the highest ever awarded by a state judge in a civil case involving trophy big-game poaching.