CAP Call Catches Poachers Before Leaving Idaho With Ill-Gotten Gains

On Sunday December 10, Idaho Fish and Game Officers received a call from the Citizens Against Poaching hotline regarding deer remains found in the desert north of Eden.  A concerned sportsman was worried that the deer may have been shot with a rifle in an archery only hunt. The caller was uncertain that this was a poaching event, but thought it was worthwhile to share what they had found. The caller did not know at the time, but the few minutes they spent on the phone would give fish and game officers the lead they needed to catch the poachers attempting to steal this buck from the people of Idaho.

After receiving the tip from the CAP hotline, the responding officer was able to quickly locate what was left of the animal and determined the deer was indeed shot with at least two different rifles. Searching the animal’s remains the officer also discovered the tenderloins were left on the animal, meaning whoever shot this buck also wasted some of the better cuts of meat.

From where the poachers dumped the deer remains, the officer was able to follow a specific set of tire tracks across the desert believing they might eventually lead to the rest of this buck in the back of a pickup. After several miles of tracking, the officer came upon a truck traveling on the Milner-Gooding canal near Hunt. The officer was able to catch up to the vehicle and after a brief pursuit the vehicle stopped and Fish and Game Officers were able to speak with Utah residents Mark Olsen and Kaleb Bowden regarding the mule deer in their possession. Eventually both Mark and Kaleb admitted to shooting the buck with a rifle in an archery-only hunt and leaving the tenderloins to waste on the portions they left in the desert.

Because the concerned sportsman was prompt in making the call to CAP, Idaho Fish and Game Officers were able to reclaim all portions of the illegally harvested buck including tenderloins that were left in the field. All portions of meat will be donated to the Hunters Feeding the Hungry program.

On January 8, Mark Olsen pled guilty in Jerome County court to taking big game with a firearm in an archery only hunt and also wasting portions of the unlawfully harvested deer. Mr. Olsen was ordered to pay $790 and had his hunting privileges revoked for 1 year. Caleb Bowden pled guilty to aiding in the commission of a misdemeanor for his part in assisting harvest, possess and attempt to conceal the unlawfully taken buck. Mr. Bowden was ordered to pay $215. The court ordered rifles be returned to each defendant. 

With only the location of a dead deer, Idaho Fish and Game Officers were able to detect, locate and apprehend those responsible for poaching this mule deer buck. Had the concerned sportsmen waited even a few hours to call the CAP hotline, Mark and Kaleb would have likely never been caught. Thank you to all those who take the time and make the call to Citizens Against Poaching and Idaho Fish and Game. Only with our combined efforts can we help prevent wildlife crime in our state. This is just another example of what 5 minutes of your time can accomplish.

SCO Steve Ross

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    Unit 53 poached buck

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    SCO Steve Ross