Small Town Demands Answers After DWR Officer Shoots Popular Deer

Jan 10, 2020, 8:51 PM

ANTIMONY, Utah – Residents of a small town on the Piute-Garfield County line have demanded answers after a DWR officer shot a well-known, beloved deer.

There’s a deer that lives on Montague family’s Antimony property. It has been there ever since Cole Montague hit and killed another deer with his truck a couple of years ago.

“I got out and checked on her to make sure she was dead. She was, but her stomach was going crazy,” he said. “I knew she was pregnant, so I did a little emergency C-section with a pocketknife, and brought two baby deer home.”

One of the deer died a few months later, but the other – Sadee – is now almost 3 years old.

Almost everyone in town knows Sadee. She often visits the post office or the little store down the road to say hello.

“She’s had free roam of this town,” said Montague. “She’s never been penned up. We don’t have a collar on her. We don’t chain her up.”

Earlier this week, an officer from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources got a call about a dog in town that had been stomped on and killed by a deer.

That officer went onto the Montagues private property and tried to capture Sadee. When he wasn’t able to catch her, he shot her.

“With no warrant,” said Montague. “There’s no warrant that I know of that was issued for this.”

Despite being shot in the face, Sadee lived. The bullet went right through her nasal cavity without hitting any of her vital organs.

At about that time she was shot, Montague’s wife and sister came home and Sadee ran towards them.

The officer said he tried knocking on their door but didn’t get an answer.

“There was nothing legal about what he did,” said Montague.

Many people in Antimony and surrounding towns in Garfield and Piute Counties are angry about the situation, saying it wasn’t necessary.

However, DWR officials said they have legal authority to go onto private property to investigate calls, and believe what the officer did was within policy.

“He followed our euthanasia policies, and ensured when he took a shot, following our euthanasia policies, that everything was safe as he has been trained to do,” said DWR Captain Wyatt Bubak.

Lots of people spoke to us in Antimony today after a Utah DWR officer shot a deer on private property two days ago. The…

Posted by Alex Cabrero KSL on Friday, January 10, 2020

The DWR also said it’s illegal to keep wild animals as pets.

“Deer that get habituated to the public or humans or pets often times, at some point, lash out and injure those individuals or pets, and so that’s our concern,” said Capt. Bubak. “We want people in Utah to enjoy wildlife, but let the wild stay wild.”

The Montague’s said they never kept Sadee as a pet. They admit they took care of her and fed her, but she was always free to go.

They said they’re also not going to stay silent until something is done.

“I’d like to see his badge jerked from him and him never having to deal with the public again,” said Montague. “The DWR needs to apologize to us.”

The DWR has not officially released the officers name.

Two DWR employees met with Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins and Piute County Sheriff Marty Gleave Friday afternoon to discuss the situation and how to improve communications in the future. 

The story about a dead dog being killed by a deer has yet to be confirmed by law enforcement.

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Small Town Demands Answers After DWR Officer Shoots Popular Deer