A poached deer in Wyoming will cost you a whole lot more than it is worth.
Officials say that Erik Rautenberg illegally killed a mule deer buck as it passed by his campsite in the Shoshone National Forest. Rautenberg shot the buck with his 9mm Glock near Sam Berry Meadows, approximately three miles from the Pahaska trail.
A retired law enforcement officer that happened to be passing the camp while hiking with his wife heard the gunshots, saw Rautenberg chasing the wounded deer, and reported the incident to the state’s Stop Poaching Tip Line.
Officers Travis Crane and Travis Hayworth of the Wyoming Game and Fish investigated the incident and caught up with Rautenberg as he headed back to the trailhead. Rautenberg initially denied shooting the poached deer, but confessed after the officers discovered the dead animal near his campsite.
The investigating officers concluded that Rautenberg had eaten a small piece of the poached deer’s backstrap and left the rest to rot. Travis Crane said, “This was a case of a big game animal killed simply for the thrill of it and is the worst kind of wildlife violation we investigate.”
Rautenberg was ordered to pay $7,540 in fines and restitution, as well as losing his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for three years.
The Wyoming officers involved in the case point out the effectiveness of the Stop Poaching Tip Line and urge anyone who witnesses suspicious behavior to call 877-WGFD-TIP.