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Utah's conservation officers work to protect our wildlife heritage on behalf of ethical sportsmen and others who value wildlife. These dispatches represent a fraction of the ongoing efforts to protect your wildlife resources.

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$8,000 reward offered in trophy buck poaching case

Officer Josh Carver holds the antlers of the poached Shurtz Canyon buck. It was a 7x13 trophy deer that measured 34 inches wide.

IRON COUNTY — Conservation officers in southern Utah are investigating the illegal killing of a 7x13 trophy buck deer in the Shurtz Canyon area, south of Cedar City.

Several members of the public had been watching this buck because of his tremendous size and character. The animal was last seen alive on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m.

On Nov. 30, concerned citizens, who had been watching the deer, observed several ravens and eagles in the area. They hiked to the location, found the carcass and contacted state wildlife officers.

During the course of the investigation, conservation officers located a doe deer that had also been killed illegally during the same timeframe.

The illegal killing and subsequent waste of wildlife is extremely frustrating for wildlife officials. It is a theft from hunters and from those who love to watch wildlife. Deer are currently in the rut (mating season) and are very susceptible to harassment.

Investigators need more information from the public. If you have any information about this case, please call the Utah Turn in a Poacher Hotline (1-800-662-3337) or the DWR Southern Region Office (435-865-6100). Callers may remain anonymous, and requests for confidentiality are honored.

An $8,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the killing of this trophy buck deer. This reward is being jointly offered by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and partners Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) and the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF).

The Shurtz Canyon Buck scored 239 inches (Boone and Crockett).

Over the past four years, conservation officers have made it a top priority to conduct organized winter range patrols to protect deer and other big game populations. Confirmed deer poaching incidents have decreased 35 percent during that time.

Conservation officers typically cover more than 2,000 square miles in their patrol districts. Right now, there are multiple patrol district vacancies across the state, so members of the public are critical in helping protect Utah's valuable — and vulnerable — wildlife.

Please be vigilant when recreating near wildlife. If you observe something that doesn't look quite right, please record a physical description of the person(s) and the vehicle involved. A license plate number can be a critical piece of information. Do not confront violators or suspicious individuals; simply be a good witness and call the poaching hotline at 1-800-662-3337.

  • Josh Carver
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  • Additional contact:
    Lieutenant Scott Dalebout
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