Lauren Hatch/Twin Falls Times-News
Photo of the much admired buck taken by Twin Falls resident Lauren Hatch days before the poaching report.
The trophy-class mule deer buck had been called a "local celebrity." Spending its life in the Rock Creek Canyon near the Amalgamated Sugar Factory in Twin Falls, the animal's huge antlers and tame attitude made it a photogenic attraction for neighbors and an object of appreciation among hunters. However, because it roamed within city limits, no one hunted it. Until—maybe—now.
The Twin Falls Times-News reports
that the community is outraged after evidence surfaced last week that someone poached a buck matching the description of the well known specimen. Now as much as $2,800 is being offered for information.
According to the Times-News
, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game opened an investigation
Jan. 29 into the poaching of a trophy-class mule deer buck within city limits sometime on Jan. 26 or Jan. 27. The paper reported that some of the meat was taken as well as the head and antlers.
While anger over the out-of-season killing has centered on the Rock Creek Canyon buck—which has since disappeared from its usual grazing areas—it's still unclear whether the animal in question really was the celebrated buck. Investigators won't know for certain until they can find evidence more identifiable than the headless carcass.
"We are still encouraging the public to call in as we are still looking for the proverbial smoking gun," Regional Conservation Officer Josh Royse told the Times-News
. "We still believe someone saw this deer show up in somebody’s possession last week. We need to talk to those folks.”
"We need some help on this one," Senior Conservation Officer Jim Stirling stated in a news release.
Call Fish and Game at 208-324-4359 or Citizens Against Poaching at 1-800-632-5999 with any information related to the poaching incident. Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward should their information lead to a conviction.