Longview man accused of guiding illegal hunts, selling poached meat

An affidavit for Bottoms was obtained by KLTV through an open records request to the Cass County District Clerk’s Office.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 9:29 AM CST
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CASS COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A Longview man accused of being a part of a deer-poaching ring is believed to have sold the illegally obtained meat and also guided clients on illegal hunts, according to arrest documents.

Carson Don Bottoms, 22, of Longview, is charged with harvest white-tailed deer without landowner’s consent. Bottoms was one of three arrested who are accused in a three-year investigation into deer poaching across four states.

An affidavit for Bottoms was obtained by KLTV through an open records request to the Cass County District Clerk’s Office.

According to the arrest affidavit, a Texas game warden received a call on Oct. 7, 2021, from a landowner in Red River County, who said a white-tailed buck was dead from a gunshot wound on his property. The game warden determined the deer had been shot a few days prior and began traveling north on Deport Cemetery Road. He noticed buzzards circling about a quarter-mile from the buck. The game warden searched that scene and found a dead hog. In the area of the hog, he found a cigarette butt about 12 feet from the carcass.

On Oct. 8, the game warden made a social media post seeking information on the deer. The next day, a citizen said he was coming back from his hunting lease and found a silver Ford F-150 directly in line with where the deer carcass was discovered.

On Oct. 9, a caller said Bottoms possibly poached several deer recently in Red River County and does so on a regular basis. The caller said Bottoms had been poaching deer for several years and he drove a truck with the same description.

According to the affidavit, the game warden learned Bottoms sold the meat of the poached deer and that he sold illegal poaching hunts.

On Oct. 11, a game warden received a call from a hunter who said Bottoms told him he could “get him a big deer” and he claimed to be the owner of the property. The hunter said he had traveled from Rockwall to hunt with someone who identified themselves as Carson Jackson. It is believed Bottoms sometimes uses the last name Jackson, according to the affidavit. The hunter said a driver pulled up and told him nobody has permission to hunt there. The hunter provided a phone number which matched up to Bottoms’ records.

Game wardens used a warrant to obtain Bottoms’ Snapchat account. A video from Jan. 10, 2021, show deer eyes across a fence. A spotlight then comes on and a large white-tailed buck is shot. The video comes from someone named in the affidavit who has not yet been arrested. The affidavit lists several instances of Snapchat exchanges between the two which showed dead deer.

The game warden interviewed the named person, who admitted numerous violations involving Bottoms. The person then took game wardens to a Cass County location where two white-tailed deer were shot at night using artificial light. Game wardens contacted the landowner, who said he did not give permission for them to hunt.

The two charges against Bottoms come from this event, according to the affidavit. Game Warden Capt. Shawn Hervey said in a previous interview that more suspects are expected to be arrested and more charges will be filed against the original three.