GoPro Video Used as Evidence to Convict Eureka Man of Poaching

Press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office:

District Attorney DA Humboldt

Derrick Toste, a 46-year-old Eureka resident, pled guilty yesterday to four misdemeanor charges under the California Fish and Game Code: spotlighting deer, possessing a loaded rifle inside a vehicle, taking deer without a license, and littering within 150-feet of a state waterway.

On October 30, 2015, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wardens contacted Mr. Toste near the Eel River after observing him driving on a river bar while shining a high-powered light into adjacent woodlands and fields. The wardens also observed that Mr. Toste had littered the river bar with a shooting target container. On November 7, 2015, Fish and Wildlife wardens served a search warrant at Mr. Toste’s residence, where the officers discovered additional evidence of spotlighting from GoPro footage, and also found deer meat taken without a license. Analysis of the deer meat by a CDFW forensic specialist revealed that Mr. Toste was in possession of meat from four different female deer.

Judge Christopher Wilson fined Mr. Toste $2,945 and sentenced him to 3 years of probation with terms that included 200 hours of community service work, a prohibition on hunting, completion of a hunter safety program, and the forfeiture of three firearms, ammunition, buck knives, and the unlawfully possessed deer parts.

The prosecutor in the case, Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, stated: “This case exemplifies the impressive effort of CDFW personnel to protect the wildlife resources of California.”



  • Too bad they don’t hit more of the dope growers, They are decimating the deer population.

    • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

      I agree with that, because every grower wakes up in the morning plotting and planning their incessant war on nature.

      Their main focus is environmental destruction followed by a motivation to sell marijuana to young children, as well as illegal pesticide trafficking and application.

      • Veterans friend


      • I will ask you again, how many MADD meetings do you attend? How many meetings addressing pesticide use by lumber companies?

      • I thought there main focus was making money chump? But hey i could be wrong. Destroying the earth is what we all do. If you wanna change that….kill yourself. Your mere existence is destroying the earth chump. Ill keep a look out for weed peddlers on the school grounds though!

    • Really! Have you driven anywhere in SoHum lately. There are deer everywhere! Gotta open your eye to see past all the HATE!!


        Year Deer Population Estimate
        1990 850,000
        1991 700,000
        1992 640,000
        1993 684,000
        1994 681,000
        1995 564,000
        1996 561,744
        1997 570,000
        1998 568,000
        1999 510,900
        2000 509,000
        2001 674,500
        2002 554,000
        2003 525,230
        2004 475,580
        2005 602,650
        2006 420,140
        2007 438,140
        2008 487,000
        2009 484,400
        2010 445,446
        2011 445,810
        2012 484,750
        2013 443,289
        2014 511,871
        2015 649,338
        2016 621,082
        2017 532,621

        p.s. Kym wrote an article several ago about deep population drop-off, before the uptick in 2014.

        • HoneydewChumpDestroyer

          Estimate! Wgo counted them ? You? Kym? Who the fuck counted ??

          Did you ever think about mountainlions? Their numbers are ironically in the rise.
          What do they eat? Deer!

        • Thinking allowed

          I suspect that mountain lion predation is responsible for a good share of that drop off. At least it was true here. Here were deer in large numbers and few mountain lion sightings. Then in about 2005ish, the deer started disappearing periodically with the arrival of a male coming through his territory in June. That was the first time I started seeing mountian lions periodically, I think residential females and their offspring.

          Eventually the deer became scare, seen infrequently and then singly or very small groups rather than the larger groups that were common.

          I wonder if the rise in deer is because a balance has now struck between the protected mountain lions and their food source.

        • Beers have also increased in numbers since dogs were banned from tracking them. There is deer fur in scat I’ve seen lately.

  • Four does taken and $3000 fine? That’s an insult to us law abiding hunters. Shame on the judge.

    • I’m surprised the judge didn’t send him to venison Rehabilitation….

      • Arrest Poachers

        Good Idea! [edit] 46 years old and still doesn’t have a clue. How long do you think he’s been poaching deer, before he was finally caught? Why do we have so many outlaws behind the redwood curtain?

    • In kansas u used to be able to get white tail doe tag2 at a time 5 dollars each and rebuy as much as you wanted , wasnt all that long ago either

  • Seems Kinda lenient.

    • Jeeze if someone doesn’t shoot all those does we will be overrun! In the last 5 years everyone I know has hit a deer with a car and I have had 5 vehicles damaged by deer. Humboldt is about the only part of California where the deer are fewer. I don’t think they need to be all that protected. Open season on does would be a step in the right direction…

  • There should be healthy fines like this on top of everything for every single plant grown when it’s a mega grow on public lands, or poisoning water.

  • It would be cool if poachers were eating them

  • The number that are living in wild are getting smaller very fast, one of the reason for the project at for protection and saving the endangered species

  • Animals that share our world.....................

    Research has shown in Montana and Wyoming that predators not only keep populations in check, but the prey are much healthier. The male Forked Prong and Mule deer could handle predators. A Mountain Lion knows it is easier to take a female than a male with sharp horns. Until man interfered with the natural processes of life in the wild there was balance in numbers. It is a good sign that we see more predators. It means a balance is being struck with wild critters after years of human encroachment into their living areas. Research in Montana and Wyoming is demonstrating that collared Mountain lions and wolves are monitored and when they move too close to cattle, cattle rancher just moved their herds away and that worked. Let Nature do its thing and everyone benefits. With one exception. Wild dogs that irresponsible owners didn’t care for and didn’t feed causing dogs to band together and take sheep and juvenile calves because the dog packs don’t know how to kill deer. Sheep ranchers that have shot dogs in the Arcata say the dogs have no licenses and seem to be a problem in mid June of every year. Seems to correspond to the end of the HSU Spring semester when students leave for the Summer. Are they letting their dogs to roam freely? Appears like a perfect senior project for a Wildlife major.

  • I find it disturbing that there are twns of thousands unprocessed rape kits awaiting testing, yet fish and game can get a dna test back so quickly ? Guess there is no reason monatarly to figure out who raped who when there is so much money to be had in enforcing crime.

  • Interesting thought… They did an Analysis of the deer meat by a forensic specialist to revealed that he was in possession of meat from four different female deer? Is our society (Humboldt County) as extensive in solving Human Crimes? Just a thought……

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