Cedar City man charged in connection with poaching of buck deer
Salt Lake City — A Cedar City man was recently charged in connection with the illegal killing of a buck deer in 2018.
Michael Grant, 25, was charged in Iron County's 5th District Court with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a class A misdemeanor; two counts of taking, transporting, selling or purchasing protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor; carrying a loaded rifle, shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle in a vehicle, a class B misdemeanor; and driving with a suspended or revoked license or registration, a class C misdemeanor, on March 27. His initial court appearance is scheduled for June 9.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers received a tip about a poached deer at a house on Dec. 23, 2019. The tip led officers to Grant's house, where they discovered him driving with a loaded firearm in his vehicle.
Upon further investigation, they discovered the antlers of a buck deer, which officers later learned had been killed illegally in the Chloride Mountains, west of Cedar City, in November 2018, during deer breeding season.
In addition, investigators also discovered the heads of two trophy buck deer, which they determined had died two to three days prior. During interviews, Grant claimed he had found the dead animals and harvested their heads.
"However, you have to report 'dead heads' (animals with antlers still attached to the skull) when you find them, so officers can investigate and make sure the animals didn't die under suspicious circumstances," DWR Conservation Officer Joshua Carver said. "If it is determined that the animal died of natural causes, oftentimes, the person who finds and reports the animal can be granted a certificate to keep the antlers."
Conservation officers also discovered several snare traps that weren't legally registered. Grant led officers to additional snare traps that had been set up without a valid furbearer license.
If Grant is convicted and sentenced, conservation officers will also recommend a hunting license suspension.
For more information on how to help conservation officers fight poaching in Utah, visit the DWR website.