ST. GEORGE — An investigation is underway into the poaching of seven deer in Southern Utah and authorities are asking the public’s help in identifying the individuals responsible for the crime.
Within about a two-week span, the seven deer were poached in three separate – but similar – incidents and left to waste in Kane County, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The first incident, occurring at the end of October, involving four deer that were found poached within approximately 200 yards of each other, officials said. The deer included a doe, a fawn, a spike buck and a small two-point buck.
Three of the four deer were shot at the base of the head while the fourth deer was shot in the spine, wildlife officials said, adding:
Based on evidence at the scene, it appears that individuals were off-roading in the area, shooting deer and leaving them where they fell. None of the four deer were approached on foot and no meat was harvested.
The second incident also occurred at the end of October, several miles southeast of the first incident, involving a four-point buck that had been found dead.
The evidence at the scene indicated this buck was shot in the head and left to waste, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.
The third incident occurred in early November, several miles east of the first incident. Two four-point bucks were found dead, approximately 500 yards apart, officials said, noting:
One buck had been shot at the base of the head. The other deer was shot in the heart. Again, no meat was harvested from the deer.
Anyone with information about these cases is asked to call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher Hotline at 800-662-3337.
Officials said a reward may be available for information that leads to the identification and successful prosecution of the individual(s) who poached these deer.
Fines and restitution
When someone is convicted of illegally killing or possessing protected wildlife, they often must make restitution payments, according to the DWR. These payments go into the “Help Stop Poaching Fund,” which pays rewards to hunters who help catch and convict poachers.
The Utah Legislature has set the following amounts as minimum restitution for Utah’s trophy animals:
- $30,000 for bighorn sheep – desert or Rocky Mountain
- $8,000 for deer – 24-inch antler spread or larger
- $8,000 for elk – with six points on at least one side
- $6,000 for moose or mountain goat
- $6,000 for bison
- $2,000 for pronghorn
If DWR officials determine a poacher’s crime is intentional or reckless, he or she may lose the right to hunt and fish in Utah and other states. Utah is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which is an agreement among all but two states in the nation to honor each other’s decisions to deny licenses and permits to poachers.
- Wildlife Resources Code of Utah 23-20-23
- Rule R657-37 – Cooperative Wildlife Management Units for Big Game or Turkey
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.