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Deer poaching problems addressed in Springville

SPRINGVILLE - The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for killing 13 deer in Diamond Fork Canyon on the weekend of April 9 has climbed to $4,000.

Sportsmen For Fish and Wildlife, The Mule Deer Foundation and Jake's Archery of Orem contacted the Division of Wildlife Resources recently and asked to contribute additional money to the $1,000 reward the DWR was already offering.

A reward of up to $4,000 will now be paid to the person or persons who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the senseless killings in the Utah County canyon. Those who provide information may remain anonymous. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the DWR's Central Region office at (801) 491-5678 or the DWR's Help Stop Poaching Hot line at 1-800-662-DEER (3337).

Members of the organizations are outraged by the poaching incident and want to encourage anyone with information to come forward. "Poachers steal viewing and hunting opportunity from the public," said John Bair of Sportsmen For Fish and Wildlife. "This poaching incident is especially significant since it occurs at a time when the DWR and conservation organizations are working together to get deer herds back to management objectives in this area."

The 13 dead deer included two adult bucks, two buck fawns, eight does and one doe fawn. All of the deer were killed from the road and left to rot.

In another instance of poaching, Montana resident Troy Butler was recently convicted of poaching a trophy class mule deer in Utah. The buck deer was taken near Kamas on Nov. 15, 2004. The trophy-class buck had a 31-inch antler spread.

Butler was fined $8,000, and his 7 mm rifle, knives, night vision and other equipment used in the poaching incident were taken from him as well.

The arrest began when Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Leatham pulled Butler and a companion over for a traffic violation. Leatham noticed that Butler was covered in fresh blood. Leatham also saw a newly-removed antler rack in the vehicle. The deer antlers were tagged with a Montana antelope tag. Because of this evidence and other suspicious factors, Leatham contacted the Division of Wildlife Resources and conservation officers Dave Swenson, Bruce Johnson and Jerry Schlappi responded quickly to the scene.

Butler had purchased a Utah nonresident archery tag that allowed him to hunt deer on extended season archery units in the state. In addition to tagging the deer with an antelope tag, Butler was hunting outside of the extended archery unit boundaries; was trespassing on private property; and illegally used a firearm, instead of archery equipment, to kill the deer.

"This is a great catch," said DWR Conservation Officer Dave Swenson. "Butler has a history of wildlife violations in Montana. This conviction discourages this type of person from poaching in the future. Butler is also subject to having his big game hunting privileges revoked for a considerable amount of time in our state."

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