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Investigation continues into North Logan illegal deer kills

October 8th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Chelsea Hunter

NORTH LOGAN — Officials are still investigating two illegal shootings of mule deer within city limits. Both incidents occurred in August at the beginning of archery season.

With the combined efforts of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and the North Park Police Department, the person who shot the larger of the two animals has been identified and is waiting to be charged. The other deer was shot around the same time frame but wasn’t killed. It disappeared for a few days and then reappeared with a wound so extensive it had to be euthanized. The person who shot the second deer still remains unknown, said Chris Schultze of the DWR.

The deer that was shot and had to be euthanized. Photo courtesy of Garrett Nix.

The person who killed the first deer was identified thanks to numerous calls from concerned citizens and hunters, who freely shared information after Al’s Sporting Goods store became suspicious of a rack of antlers presented by a customer for mounting. Once pointed in the right direction, North Park Police Chief Kim Hawkes called Schultze and gave him the information they had gathered, and he made contact with the individual who registered for Al’s Big Buck Contest.

“He is licensed to hunt, he was just doing it in a place he shouldn’t have been,” said Hawkes.

The man admitted to shooting the deer in North Logan on the Sunday of the first weekend of the bow hunt. Now police are working with the DWR to determine what they will charge the hunter with. Schultze expects charges will be forthcoming within the next few days or weeks.

“We’ll see ultimately what the city attorney decides to charge him with,” said Schultze. “But it looks like he could be facing shooting in city limits for violating that city ordinance, and then he’s also looking at state charges for trespassing while he was hunting. Both are misdemeanors.” The deer rack was seized from the hunter’s possession as evidence, and depending on what a judge decides, he may not get it back.

He’s facing fines, possible jail time, and even restitution for the value of that deer.

“I think he was aware of the fact that he couldn’t discharge a bow legally within the city,” said Schulze. “We also think he was aware that there was private property but he made the decision to hunt anyway.”

People were concerned and outraged that somebody was hunting within city limits. That is the DWR’s biggest concern as well,  Schultze said. Anytime someone shoots a bow, a rifle, or any firearm withing city limits, it raises concern.

North Logan resident Garrett Nix has grown up hunting and tracks deer in this area almost daily as hunting season draws near. He frequently saw these two deer together and was shocked to hear they had been killed.

“I’m pretty upset,” said Nix. “The feeling that I get is that the same guy killed both of those. Because both of those deer last year were always together when I’d see them.”

However, Schultze said there is no reason to believe that the two deer were in any way linked together besides that they were shot in the same time frame. “The two deer were frequently seen together, but at this point there is no evidence to suggest that they were part of the same incident, or shot by the same individual or group of hunters.”

Officials are still investigating the deer that was injured and don’t doubt that it was shot within city limits as well. Schultze and the DWR are asking that if there is any information to let them know. Contact information can be found at the DWR website.

“Somebody out there knows what happened with that deer, and we’re hoping that somebody will step up and do the right thing and come forward with that information that we are seeking,” Schultze said.

NW

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