SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Prosecutors are currently working on nine separate cases involving trophy-sized deer and elk being killed illegally in Utah, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Per Utah State Code 23-13-2, a “trophy” buck deer has an outside antler measurement of 24 inches or greater while a “trophy” elk is defined as having six points on at least one side of its antlers.

DWR officers confirmed early this year that 1,283 wild animals and fish were illegally killed in 2022 with a total value of over $609,000. Among those animals, 23 of them are trophy deer while another 29 are trophy elk.

Information about each case is as follows:

October 2021

DWR conservation officers reportedly investigated a case where an individual illegally killed a trophy deer on the Paunsaugunt hunting unit. Charges are currently pending.

November 2021

An individual who harvested a 4-point, 28-inch trophy buck deer illegally in Davis County has been ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution, officers say.

October 2022

An individual allegedly shot and killed a trophy bull elk in the La Sal Mountains in San Juan County without a permit. A witness reported the incident to DWR officers, and charges against the individual are pending.

In a separate case, a non-resident has reportedly applied for and received a “highly sought after” deer permit in Paunsaugunt as a Utah resident. They allegedly killed a trophy buck deer in Kane County in October. Charges are currently pending, officials say.

November 2022

DWR conservation officers reportedly seized the head of a large trophy buck deer that had been poached by the Oquirrh/Stanbury hunting unit. The buck was reportedly well known by local residents as it lingered on private properties in the area during summer.

Officials are considering pressing wanton destruction felony charges against the individual who killed the deer without a permit.

December 2022

A man is also facing wanton destruction of wildlife charges after DWR officials received a report through its wildlife crimes hotline about the possible poaching of a trophy buck deer in the Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake County. The caller also provided a picture of the deer when it was alive, the location and the license plate of the vehicle seen in the area at the time of the poaching.

When conservation officers made contact with the suspect, he said he had killed the deer on Nov. 30, the last day of the extended archery deer season. Officers recognized the animal in the photo he showed as a trophy deer, which made the kill illegal regardless of when it was done.

Fraud cases

DWR officers have also uncovered three unrelated fraud cases in which two trophy bull elk were killed in southeastern Utah and one bull elk was killed in southwestern Utah. The responsible individuals reportedly lived out of state but applied for hunting permits as Utah residents to increase their chances of receiving one. Charges are also pending in these cases.

Anyone who would like to report wildlife-related crimes can do so in the following ways: