MAGNA — State conservation officers are asking for the public’s help in their investigation of a pair of buck mule deer illegally killed near a highway last weekend.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials say the carcasses of two large-antlered bucks were found Monday in a field near 8400 West and 4100 South, and less than 100 yards from the Bacchus Highway. A person cleaning up trash at a private property in the area spotted the dead deer and reported it to wildlife officials, according to DWR officer Nick Vidrine.
It was later determined both deer, one with 28-inch antler width and another with 22 ¼-inch antler width, were shot and killed with a small-caliber rifle sometime between Sunday and Monday and left for waste, Vidrine said.
It appears whoever shot the deer did so from the highway before fleeing, he added. Conservation officers say they have no suspects at this time.
Since one of the deer had antlers exceeding 24 inches, it is classified as a felony-level case. Twenty-four-inch antlers is the benchmark for what constitutes a trophy deer. The second deer killed fell short of that classification.
According to the wildlife agency, the minimum restitution is $8,000 for anyone convicted of poaching a trophy-size deer. A poaching conviction may also result in an additional fine or even jail time, as well as the suspension of hunting privileges in Utah and 48 other members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area around the time the deer were killed or may have any other information about the case is encouraged to call the division’s UTiP Hotline at 1-800-662-3337 or report it on its website. Division officials say they will accept requests for confidentiality.
The Mule Deer Foundation announced Friday it will offer a $2,500 reward for information leading to a prosecution in the case.