Three Men Sentenced for Illegal Bear Killing

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nevada Department of Wildlife

by Nevada Department of Wildlife

A year-long investigation into the illegal poaching of a black bear in the Pinenut Mountains near Dayton has resulted in felony convictions for three men.

Daniel Rubio, Elisio Rubio Sr., and Elisio Rubio Jr., all of Dayton, were convicted of killing a big game animal without a tag, a category E felony. The three were accused of conspiring for nearly a year to kill this bear outside of its den in February of 2017. The men approached the bear’s den from three different angles on the mountain, set up in different spots, and shot the bear multiple times from different angles.

All three defendants were sentenced Tuesday and fined civil penalties of $5,000 each for their crimes. Seized evidence included four rifles, cellular phones, poached bear and deer parts, bullet casings and large amounts of digital data to support the case.

“Poaching in any form is disturbing, but this case reached a whole other level,” said Tyler Turnipseed, Chief Game Warden for the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). “These men basically ambushed this bear in mid-winter just for the thrill of killing it. This was a disgusting act and I’m extremely proud of the efforts that went into bringing these men to justice.”  
The convictions were the result of a case which was painstakingly investigated for over a year by Nevada Game Wardens. During the course of the investigation, game wardens spent months locating and collecting evidence, executed several search warrants and interviewed suspects and witnesses in order to put together such a strong case against the three suspects.  Investigators were able to locate the exact kill site, several expended cartridges, and a mountain of other evidence.

 “It’s important to clarify that poachers are not hunters. In this case, it’s worth mentioning, because these three men are so far removed from the ethical sportsmen and women who legally hunt in Nevada,” said Turnipseed. “There is literally no comparison. These men have never even owned a hunting license, much less a big game tag.”

One unique aspect of this case is that investigators were able to show a year’s worth of intent and premeditation.  The defendants were aware of this bear and his hibernation den for eleven months before they killed him.

As with any felony conviction, the three defendants will all now lose certain privileges associated with being a convicted felon, such as a prohibition on ever possessing a firearm.

To report wildlife crime, sportsmen and members of the public can call Operation Game Thief at (800) 992-3030. To learn more about game wardens and wildlife in Nevada visit NDOW at

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, conserves, manages and restores wildlife and its habitat for the aesthetic, scientific, educational, recreational, and economic benefits to citizens of Nevada and the United States, and to promote the safety of persons using vessels on the waters of Nevada. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at

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