A California hunter who took two big horn sheep in Nevada several years ago has ended up paying dearly for doing so.
Alan Edward Berryessa put in for Nevada resident hunting tags for 21 years. Although he was a second-generation rancher in Grass Valley, Calif., just over the Nevada state line, he said he had 21 years’ history of hunting in Nevada and having hunting licenses in Nevada. He lived, for a time, in Nevada but was ruled a non-resident by The Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW) after their investigation.
Berryessa agreed to plead guilty to “conspiracy to unlawful possession of a big game animal without a valid tag,” a gross misdemeanor. His plea agreement recommended a fine and probation. Berryessa has been charged in both Humboldt County and Mineral County.
Berryessa killed two highly-prized trophy big game animals. A California Bighorn Sheep was killed in Humboldt County and a Desert Bighorn Sheep was killed in Mineral County. He also faces charges in Mineral County and that sentencing has not yet happened.
The plea agreement he signed recommends that the $5,000 fine to be paid to NDOW and three years probation from Humboldt County and a $5,000 fine and three-years probation in Mineral County Whether the sentences will run concurrent or consecutive will be up to the Mineral County Judge.
“This is an issue where he believed he had residency for the purpose of having a Nevada hunting license,” Berryessa’s lawyer, William Jenea said. “Mr. Berryessa has never applied for a hunting license or tags in any other state and he was forthright with investigators.”
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Gordon said he had talked with an official at NDOW and was told NDOW appreciated the cooperation they received from Berryessa.
Berryessa said he put in for Nevada tags for 21 years as a resident.
“I doctor in Nevada, I spent nine days in the hospital in Nevada with cancer surgery. I considered myself a Nevada resident. I was fortunate enough after 20 and 21 years to draw the tags. Obviously somebody didn’t agree with it and the state came in (to investigate).
Sixth Judicial District Judge Michael Montero sentenced Berryessa in accordance with the plea agreement. He did not add a $2,000 civil penalty, which had been recommended by the Department of Parole and Probation.
“I have seen a few hunting-related cases come across the bench while I’ve been here,” Montero said. He noted that Berryessa had taken responsibility for his actions. The judge added that he had been glad to see that this was not a case of someone applying for in-state resident hunting tags in several states.
Berryessa was required to forfeit the two trophy heads he had in his possession from the Desert Big Horn Sheep and the California Big Horn Sheep he shot.