A New Mexico man will spend the next six years behind bars after being convicted of poaching multiple elk and mule deer. He would then sell the antlers and use the money to feed his drug addiction.
According to New Mexico Wildlife, 23-year-old Tyler Gilmore pled guilty to four counts of unlawful taking of big game and was sentenced to six years in prison, to be served concurrent with drug charges and five years of probation.
The investigation started in 2017 when a mule deer buck was discovered with the backstraps missing and the head removed. Soon after that, a headless elk was also discovered in the same area. Over the next few days, the tally of dead elk and deer continued to rise. Three elk were found on property owned by the City of Alamogordo and a second mule deer buck was found in Upper Dry Canyon near Cloudcroft.
Fast forward to 2018, Conservation Officer Corey Smith received a tip from a concerned sportsman, that led him to Gilmore. Gilmore was interviewed and during the interview, Smith noticed that the tread on Gilmore’s shoes matched tracks by one of the poached elk. After that Gilmore’s story broke down and he admitted to that poaching incident.
Over the next few months, conservation officers executed 10 search warrants, yielding cell phone data, DNA and other incriminating evidence.
Gilmore was interviewed a second time and conservation officers revealed that the DNA collected from his truck linked him to other unsolved poaching cases. Gilmore confessed to four of the poaching cases and admitted that he was shooting them and selling the heads and antlers to buy drugs.