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View Full Version : Utah County men charged in poaching 18 deer


younggun20
May 13, 2009, 03:09 PM
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=6478145


SPRINGVILLE, Utah (AP) -- Four Utah County men are facing 14 felony counts in the poaching of 18 mule deer in Juab County.

State officials say it's one of the largest poaching cases in recent years. DWR conservation officer Jay Topham says they were first alerted to this poaching problem when sportsmen started finding the deer carcasses.

A two year investigation led the DWR to the home of Rex Powell in Utah County. There they found sets of antlers throughout the home.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on Wednesday displayed 18 sets of antlers taken after a search warrant was served. Seven of the antlers are considered trophy-size under state law.

Three of the men are each charged with multiple third-degree felony counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife. A fourth man faces one count.

The restitution value of each of the trophy-size antlers is $8,000 apiece.

They say at least 15 of the antlers come from deer poached in the Vernon hunting area in Juab County, an area that is limited to hunters so the bucks can grown into trophy deer.

davlandrum
May 13, 2009, 03:52 PM
Thanks for sharing.

I will probably add this to my resources for Hunter Safety class.

Dave

hogdogs
May 13, 2009, 04:21 PM
They say at least 15 of the antlers come from deer poached in the Vernon hunting area in Juab County, an area that is limited to hunters so the bucks can grown into trophy deer.
While I am all for the prosecution of trophy poachers, I am confused... Why prevent hunting to grow trophy size deer if they can't be bagged as trophy deer? Trophy is for hunters...
Brent

younggun20
May 13, 2009, 04:32 PM
"an area that is limited to hunters so the bucks can grown into trophy deer."

Only so many tags are handed out. They are bagged, just not all in one season

hogdogs
May 13, 2009, 04:39 PM
gotcha:o
Brent

johnwilliamson062
May 13, 2009, 05:36 PM
so these guys were trophy poaching for a personal collection?
I could understand(not condone) poaching for food or for profit, but to poach for a personal collection that you couldn't show anyone?

teeroux
May 13, 2009, 05:45 PM
How do they prove said antlers came from poached deer?

I find it hard to belive they used DNA testing before serving a warrant so where did they get their lead?

Are they on film, witnesses, snitch?

Having antlers and trophies doesn't make you a poacher where and what is the actual evidence?

hogdogs
May 13, 2009, 05:55 PM
You would be surprised at the stupidity and loose lips of poachers... I am one who feels game laws are out the window when food is needed but a rack don't roast fer nuttin'. I see poaching for money the same as selling dope or smugglin' illegal mexicans across the border for a fee.
Brent

Csspecs
May 13, 2009, 06:13 PM
EVERYONE can understand a person poaching for food. It makes sense, no one is really hurt by it and they can eat for free.

This is the kind of thing that I like reading, when they really get the book thrown at them for poaching and leaving the whole deer minus rack to rot.

Hope they get a good boyfriend in jail :rolleyes:

do you serve jail time for a third-degree felony? I hope so.

teeroux
May 13, 2009, 06:56 PM
I mean if they are poachers by all means throw the book at them. Its just that the news story is awfully vague.

davlandrum
May 13, 2009, 07:05 PM
Its just that the news story is awfully vague.

I think it is because they are just starting the prosecution. It says the investigation took 2 years, so I bet there is plenty of evidence before the charges were filed.

Just a guess...:D

treg
May 13, 2009, 09:26 PM
There is a spot near here where there were 22 carcasses dumped in a 1/8 mile stretch of road over the winter. Most looked to be quickly skinned for the largest cuts of meat - rear quarters and backstraps. 2 yrs ago there were 15 (IIRC) carcasses in the same stretch.

A_McDougal
May 14, 2009, 08:06 AM
Is poaching considered a violent crime with a firearm?
If guilty, I'd like to see them punished, but I wouldn't want to see them get the mandatory extra sentencing while worse criminals get released early.

FrankenMauser
May 14, 2009, 10:47 AM
How do they prove said antlers came from poached deer?

I find it hard to belive they used DNA testing before serving a warrant so where did they get their lead?

Are they on film, witnesses, snitch?

Having antlers and trophies doesn't make you a poacher where and what is the actual evidence?

The DWR here won't make an arrest without a witness or confession. So, there's something they're not saying.

However, as for the poaching charges...
In the state of Utah, you must retain your tag with the largest portion of meat until it is consumed. If the animal was a male, the tag must then be permanently attached to the antlers/horns. Having no tag, and no meat equates to a poached animal.

The same goes for shed antlers that are attached to a skull. When a shed hunter finds a skull with antlers intact, it is considered poaching to remove the item from the location before a game warden can inspect the animal and site. Once given the clear, a certificate is given to the shed hunter to show that the skull was legally recovered. (So it doesn't look like a poaching violation if the thing shows up on a trophy wall.)

Crankylove
May 14, 2009, 08:58 PM
This is the second big poaching scandal we have had here in the last few years. In the last one the poacher killed 13 does and fawns out of season..............to see if his gun was sighted in. :barf:

If caught poaching, you can lose your vehicle, your firearm, your freedom, get slapped with some pretty hefty fines, and lose your hunting privilages anywhere from one year.......to life.

And as the article stated, shooting a "trohpy" quality animal as defined by the state, severly increases the penalties.

Gbro
May 15, 2009, 07:53 AM
I find it hard to believe they used DNA testing

There are many wildlife cases prosecuted from DNA matches.

The DWR here won't make an arrest without a witness or confession.
On a small violation I would agree, but with a huge case like this and the possible recovery of trophy fines.:rolleyes:
DNA, and I would surmise evidence from taxidermy services, this could go to court without a confession. However my gut tell me one of the dependents is getting some reduced charges for a reason.A fourth man faces one count.
I am glad they are caught. This gang is just another bunch of thieves!

cornbush
May 15, 2009, 05:10 PM
I work with one of the guys who was part of the 13 does getting killed. He got caught because like most people he couldn't keep his mouth shut. Given enough rope most people will hang themselves. The ironic part is his dad works extensively with the fish and game here in Utah, and is a board member for the Rocky Mountain Wild Sheep foundation. Unfortunately they could never find the rifle used to poach the animals so they couldn't get the conviction they wanted, but the jury stuck with most of them and he ended up with some severe fines and loss of hunting priveledges for atleast five years, might be more, can't remember. I think it ended up costing him about 25,000 bucks plus his attorney, not enough in my opinion. They killed the deer and left them to rot, I have no sympathy for him or his buddy who helped.

A_Gamehog
May 18, 2009, 01:55 PM
After working with criminals for years, that's "all they got caught doing".

Some are smarter and have done far worse and never got caught. it's just a sign of our times. Guides can green score a Bull Elk on the hoof and charge $$ accordingly. Too much emphasis on the finished "product" instead of just going hunting anymore. Magazine writers have contributed to this mess as equals. The average Joe who reads these rags thinks he can just show up and get a trophy rack. Here's one for you, how many Boone and Crocket animals were taken with Night Vison Scopes? Game Wardens deserve our respect and help.

Most of these arrests are made after an anomyous tip from a Taxidermist.

just my 2 cents...

Double Naught Spy
May 18, 2009, 02:58 PM
I find it hard to believe they used DNA testing

There are many wildlife cases prosecuted from DNA matches.

I don't think the query was about the usefulness or validity of DNA for prosecution. Instead, I think what was being asked was what was DNA tested before the warrant was issued?. If they had not confiscated materials, then what could they test?

dipper
May 18, 2009, 03:26 PM
. I am one who feels game laws are out the window when food is needed but a rack don't roast fer nuttin'.

EVERYONE can understand a person poaching for food. It makes sense, no one is really hurt by it and they can eat for free.

Well, that all depends on the situation.
Some people use the woods and wild game like a grocery store.
Some poachers have money but instead of using it to feed their families, they either sit in a bar room and drink it up, gamble it away, or spend it on nice toys like ATVs, trucks and motorcycles....whatever.

Then use the excuse, " I am just trying to feed my family"......BS.

For the record, when I caught someone who I knew TRULY needed the food, I let them go at risk to myself.
Like the guy that had 12 kids and worked 2 jobs and never took a penny of welfare, I let HIM go.
Others, who used the "feeding family" excuse got the book thrown at them....when they had the nicest toys and such.

I have no time for poachers and " game hogs".

davlandrum
May 18, 2009, 04:34 PM
Magazine writers

Magazine writers, some maybe. I personally would stack more of the "Trophy" mentality on the TV shows.

I watched a elk hunt (Saskatchawan ?) for the full 1/2 hour of the show, and did not figure out it was a high fence operation until I looked at the "outfitter's" website...:barf:

hogdogs
May 18, 2009, 04:45 PM
dipper, I reckon I would get the "pass"... Using a cheap gun with cheap ammo to take a little doe and haul her in the trunk of a 220k mile 15 year old car...:D
No 4 wheeler and no bars or gambling, but I am guilty of tippin' a cheap beer!
Brent

dipper
May 18, 2009, 07:21 PM
Darn Brent, I am sure I wouldn't even see you in the woods!!;):)

I probably couldn't catch you anyway with my old car.
19 years old and 240K on her.

Gbro
May 18, 2009, 07:54 PM
don't think the query was about the usefulness or validity of DNA for prosecution. Instead, I think what was being asked was what was DNA tested before the warrant was issued?. If they had not confiscated materials, then what could they test?

Your Bodine is showing.
A visit to the taxidermy shop for scraps(garbage can) to match DNA from a carcass found on a shooting preserve, How is that hard to understand:rolleyes:.

cornbush
May 18, 2009, 08:54 PM
Utah does use DNA testing. They will take samples of carcasses, and if they can match them to evidence during an investigation it kind of seals the deal. They have a pretty good anti-poaching program set up, they use rewards and "reward tags"to entice people to report poaching or suspected poaching. I know a couple fish cops around here and quite a few cases start with a tip from someone who only suspects poaching and they do a little poking around and people usually open their mouth a little more than they think and get caught. I have no sympathy for poachers other than in the most extreme cases, there are organizations to help if you're in need of food. "I had to feed the family" doesn't carry the weight it used to. Poachers cost us all millions in court and investigation costs as well as the cost to take care of them if they get what they deserve and get to stay in the steel hilton. Not all rules are made to be broken.

Double Naught Spy
May 18, 2009, 11:14 PM
Your Bodine is showing.
A visit to the taxidermy shop for scraps(garbage can) to match DNA from a carcass found on a shooting preserve, How is that hard to understand.

Thanks, but not mine. Just re-explaining the question since you didn't answer what was being asked.

However, you can help me out here. I didn't see in the article or the video clip where it even said that DNA testing was done before the warrant was issued. What am I missing?

hogdogs
May 18, 2009, 11:24 PM
Ya'll do realize that in MANY states a game cop doesn't need a warrant to force his way into your home/property to search for illegal animal parts and can take what he considers "evidence" with him....
Brent

Gbro
May 19, 2009, 06:22 AM
However, you can help me out here. I didn't see in the article or the video clip where it even said that DNA testing was done before the warrant was issued. What am I missing?
Investigative DNA might not be revealed at any point.
Kind of like a poker hand, it may cost you to see the other hand;)

Ya'll do realize that in MANY states a game cop doesn't need a warrant to force his way into your home/property to search for illegal animal parts and can take what he considers "evidence" with him....

That "IS" a common misconception that has been around for many years. Its BS. Unless there are blood trail kind of evidence(figure of speech).
The Conservation Office is highly trained in getting "permission" to enter private property.
Here in MN a Conservation officer was thought to be able to open a fish house on a frozen lake and do a surprise compliance check. until a meth lab was found in production and the bad boys were set scott free because there was no warrant. Today a Conservation Officer must knock and ask, You can say no and they go away. Unless they have a warrant:eek:

Double Naught Spy
May 19, 2009, 08:29 AM
I spoke with a buddy of mine at USFWS about DNA in cases. Granted, this case is not a USFWS, but a Utah case, however I doubt the procedures necessarily vary that much. Basically, he said that they did DNA even prior to having suspects or warrants depending on the seriousness/priority of the case, which I found interesting given the time and effort involved. In fact, he said they may do whole workups on DNA, serology, hair, feathers, hide, etc. as needed even before there is an actual suspect if the case is assigned as being high priority.

Determining priority can depend on numerous factors. Certain types of animal cases often take precedent over others, such as if a lot of carcasses of animals are found or if the animal is a high status animal such as a bald eagle that has been shot. Then there are the aspects of the investigation such as if the animals are potentially linked to a larger or ongoing case, such as trafficing in poached animal parts (i.e. bear gall bladders to the Asian market, for example).

Those which are not tested on a priority status have various tissue samples taken and stored for future testing/analysis as needed.

So did they do DNA apriori the warrant in this case? Maybe or maybe not, but they can get DNA from antler and identify individual animals. So antlers can be tied directly to the individual carcass from which they originated if there are samples of each to match.