The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is seeking information about a poached deer in Sevier County.
“We are looking for information that will lead to those responsible,” said DWR Officer Eric Bond. He said a group of cow elk hunters found the corpse of a 4x3 buck deer Nov. 28. The animal had been poached in the area of Tidwell Slopes in Sevier County.
“It was determined the buck had been shot late Thanksgiving night or the next morning,” Bond said.
Tidwell Slopes is a crucial area for deer to use for winter survival, according to Bond.
“This is also a popular area for cow elk hunting during this time of year,” Bond said.
The DWR is asking for help from anyone who might have information about who is responsible. Rewards are available to those who provide information leading to the successful prosecution of wildlife violators and poachers.
“Information from the public is a vital part of wildlife officers’ ability to protect Utah’s wildlife, and such information is greatly appreciated by officers and by those citizens whose wildlife the officers are sworn to protect,” Bond said.
Instances of poaching across the state helped prompt a stepped up enforcement effort, according to information released by the DWR.
“Every officer in the state is involved with that [the increased enforcement] right now,” Bond said.
Conservation officers are focusing saturated patrol efforts on ranges where deer congregate in the winter, said Tony Wood, chief of the DWR’s law enforcement section.
“As large groups of deer bunch together, they provide an enticing target for poachers,” Wood said. He said deer behavior also helps wildlife officers as it allows them to zero in on the areas where poaching is most likely to occur.
“If there’s an area in Utah that attracts mule deer in the winter we’re watching it,” Wood said.
Wood said people who travel in areas where deer congregate could help by programming the state’s poaching hot line into their cell phones.
“If you see anything suspicious, call us,” Wood said. “The hot line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
DWR officers are patrolling winter ranges at night on land and from the air, Wood said. He said the DWR would be conducting saturation patrols that put several officers on the same piece of winter range at the same time in areas across the state.
“The patrols will continue until the deer shed their antlers this spring,” Wood said.
So far in 2014, wildlife officers have investigated the illegal killing of 152 mule deer in Utah. Most of the deer were bucks. The antlers on seven of the bucks were big enough to place the deer in a trophy category.
“If you’re a hunter, you would have been thrilled to take any of these bucks,” Wood said. “Poachers took that chance away from you.”
The monetary value of the animals to Utah’s citizens is estimated at $114,000, according to the DWR.
Anyone with information about the poaching of this deer is asked to call the UTIP — Utah’s Turn in a Poacher — hot line at (800) 662-3337 [DEER].