Two West Texas men to face illegal hunting charges

PRESIDIO COUNTY — Two West Texas men will face charges in Presidio County after authorities say they took an exotic animal carcass off of private land without the landowner’s consent.

Those men — Asa Nixon of San Angelo and William Rodgers of Miles — were both arrested on misdemeanor charges for possessing the carcass late last month. Nixon, a hunting guide and owner at San Angelo-based Desert Mountain Guide Service, was arrested at his home in San Angelo on October 23, according to records obtained through a record’s request with the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office.

The next day, Rodgers — described in arrest records as a “hunting outfitter” — turned himself in at the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office in Marfa, records state. Both men were later released on a $500 cash bond.

Rod Ponton, the county attorney for Presidio County, is prosecuting the case against the men. In an interview Monday, Ponton said he had not yet filed formal charges against them in court.

Ponton said the men had started off on a legal hunting trip but broke the law when they trespassed onto private property to collect a trophy bull elk carcass. Sometimes, “you shoot an animal and it runs away across a fence,” Ponton said. “And when that happens, you don’t go over there until you call that ranch owner and explain the situation and ask for permission. You never, ever trespass.”

But those protocols, Ponton alleges, were broken in this instance. Nixon and Rodgers allegedly charged a client around $12,000 for a legal hunting trip on October 1. The hunting expedition was at Shurley Ranch near Marfa, where Nixon is co-owner.

Then the trio allegedly trespassed onto the neighboring Mary Williams Ranch to chase or collect the bull elk.

“Trespassing in West Texas is like being caught in bed with the rancher’s wife,” Ponton said. “You just don’t do it.” And since Nixon has ownership at the Shurley Ranch and therefore should have known its boundaries, Ponton said he and other authorities planned to “strictly” prosecute the case.

David Williams, an agent at Mary Williams Ranch, is listed in arrest records as a complainant. He declined to comment on the incident when reached by phone on Monday, citing the active case.

On its website, Desert Mountain Guide Service describes Nixon as its “owner/guide.” The company did not respond to a request for comment by press time.