Mariposa & Yosemite

Two men sentenced for poaching deer in Yosemite

Two men convicted of poaching deer in Yosemite National Park were sentenced Tuesday.

Brothers Chad and Chris Gierlich, of Riverside County, received the most severe civil and criminal penalties ever associated with illegal hunting in Yosemite, park officials said.

Chris Gierlich was sentenced to five years of supervised probation, 250 hours of community service, and 45 days of house arrest. He's also prohibited from hunting in the United States for five years and he's not allowed to own a bow and arrow.

Chad Gierlich was also also sentenced to five years of supervised probation. He'll have to pay a $52,368 fine and he's prohibited from hunting in the U.S. for five years, is not allowed to be in the presence of anyone hunting, and is not allowed to possess a bow and arrow. He is not allowed in Yosemite during his probation.

The two men, along with Chad Gierlich's 14-year-old son and Kyle Karasky of Riverside, were cited following a joint investigation by the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Park Service. Narasky pleaded guilty in May and received a $7,500 fine, two years of unsupervised probation and forfeiture of all of his hunting equipment seized in the field.

In Aug. 2008, CFD wardens received an anonymous report about poaching in the Virginia Canyon area of Yosemite. The men were caught during an early-morning stake-out as they were sneaking out of the park. The men claimed that they were on a week-long backpacking trip, but they didn't have the proper camping equipment, Yosemite officials said. A few weeks later, wardens found their hunting licenses and deer tags, bows and arrows, digital memory cards, GPS devices, backpacks, bags of rotten deer meat and three sets of deer antlers. The items were found within Yosemite's borders. Searches of the digital memory cards and the suspects' homes also revealed four deer killed between Lake Perris State Park and Chino Hills State Park, and a deer and a javelina killed in Arizona.

In May, Chris and Chad Gierlich pled guilty in federal court to three counts of hunting within Yosemite National Park, three counts of violating the Lacey Act and three counts of possession of a weapon within Yosemite National Park.

Additionally, Chad Gierlich, Chris Gierlich and Kyle Narasky were sentenced by Mono County Judge Stan Eller to up to 60 days in jail and three years probation.