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A Utah Department of Natural Resources official tours an area where a poacher left a beheaded buck.
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Officials Searching For Poacher Who Beheaded Buck

SPANISH FORK, Utah – Conservation officers with the Utah Department of Natural Resources are on the hunt for a poacher who shot a buck and beheaded it.

The carcass was left near the western shoreline of Utah Lake in Spanish Fork. UDNR conservation officer Sean Spencer said the buck was dumped in an old irrigation facility.

“It definitely was shot, head was chopped off, (and) tossed it in there with intent to hide it,” Spencer said.

However, the poacher didn’t do a very good job. Someone walking in the area found the buck on Nov. 1, past the deer hunting season. That person then called the UDNR.

Spencer said he believes the buck was initially shot just up the road Near Mosida Farms. Based off the investigation, the mature buck had likely been killed for its antlers.

“Yeah they cut it off intentionally for the horns,” Spencer said. “It’s interesting. Some guys come up with all kinds of fabricated stories of how they killed it and when they killed it. For lot of these guys, it’s just something they continue to fall into.”

“It’s never enough,” he added. “They have to kill more, and something else, and something bigger.”

If officials can track down whomever is involved, the poacher will face some very big consequences.

“Depending on the size of the deer, it would dictate whether its’ a class A misdemeanor or a felony,” Spencer said. “So if it’s a large enough buck, it could be a felony charge In the state of Utah.

Spencer said a felony charge would come with “quite a bit” of civil fines and criminal restitution.

Anyone with information about the illegal killing of this buck or any other animal is asked to call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline at 800-662-3337. Rewards are available, and requests for confidentiality are respected. Calls can also be made directly to Officer Spencer at 801-618-8945.

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