Big Sky Roundup

FWP: Shepherd man to pay more than $6K for poaching four deer, loses hunting privileges for 16 years

By: - July 11, 2022 6:23 pm

Photo illustration by Getty Images.

A 19-year-old Shepherd man pleaded guilty to 16 state and federal counts of poaching mule deer and leaving parts to waste at a federal recreation area, according to a Fish, Wildlife and Parks press release Monday.

Yellowstone County Justice Court fined Brayden Reed $4,405 and ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution, along with $400 in federal charges, FWP said in the press release. Reed also lost his hunting privileges in Montana for 16 years, which renders him unable to hunt legally in most of the country because of reciprocal agreements with other states.

According to FWP, Reed spotlighted and shot two mule deer bucks without possessing a Montana deer license on Oct. 2, weeks before the general deer season opened on Oct. 23. He took the deer to the federal Bureau of Land Management’s Ah-Nei Recreation Area just north of Shepherd, where he removed their antlers and backstraps, the muscles next to their spines, and left the remains.

BLM ranger Jeff Herriford investigated recreation area damage in Ah-Nei the same night, where he found a live tree cut down and burned and beverage cans dispersed around the area, according to FWP.

Reed also spotlighted and shot a third deer while trespassing on private property on Oct. 8, FWP said. He took the remains to Ah-Nei, where he again removed the backstraps and left the rest to rot. FWP noted Connor Langel, the game warden who investigated the case, later found a fourth deer Reed killed illegally and confiscated the rifle Reed used to kill the deer.

FWP began investigating this case with information called in to 1-800-TIP-MONT, which anyone can call to report information about crimes involving FWP and natural resources. Individuals with information can also report at

FWP outlines pleas

Brayden Reed, 19, pleaded guilty in Yellowstone County Justice Court to four counts of unlawful possession of deer, two counts of wasting game, three counts of hunting during a closed season, two counts of unlawful use of equipment, two counts of hunting without a license and one count of killing more than a limit of deer, according to FWP. He also pleaded guilty in federal court to the crimes of littering and resource damage.

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Emily Tschetter
Emily Tschetter

Emily Tschetter is a junior studying journalism and political science at the University of Montana. She was born and raised in Billings and grew up surrounded with music between going to concerts and playing cello. She worked at the Montana Kaimin, University of Montana's independent student newspaper, as a news reporter last school year and will start as the news editor in the fall. In her free time Emily loves building up her vinyl collection, being overly critical of movies, going to cheap diners with friends and enjoying music whenever she can.