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Policing the Poachers

Article Last Updated: 2/16/2006 09:18 AM

The Salt Lake Tribune

Editor's note: This collection of poaching convictions and investigations is provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources unless otherwise noted.

Charges filed in bear shooting

It was opening day of the 2005 rifle deer season and conservation officer Joe Nicholson heard that a black bear had been shot in the La Sal Pass area.

Nicholson soon found brothers Tyrell Wilcock, of Phoenix, and Orrin Wilcock, of Draper, who said the bear was threatening them and that they shot it in self defense.

Witness reports and an investigation indicated the bear was shot while walking away from the men. Authorities seized the weapon used in the incident and charged the Wilcock brothers with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a third-degree felony.

Trophy buck buried in manure

Following up on a tip about a poaching incident in Millard County, officers Wade Hovinga and Brian Nielson questioned a Delta man who admitted to shooting a trophy buck mule deer twice with a .22-caliber rifle and then burying the head and antlers under several feet of cow manure. After learning the location from the suspect, the officers set about the ugly job of digging the buck's head out of the manure. The case is being reviewed by the Millard County attorney.

Youths charged in bear poaching

On Nov. 12, conservation officer Chris Rhea received a report that a sow and two black bear cubs had been killed and left to rot in the Devils Canyon area of San Juan County. Two youths face charges in juvenile court.

Trapping violations

Division of Wildlife Resources law enforcement officers conducting a routine inspection began an investigation into a Price man operating a trapping line. The man faces two counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife for taking bobcats without a valid license, one count of unlawful taking of protected wildlife for killing a cougar illegally, nine counts of unlawful methods of trapping, 31 counts of failing to check traps within a 48-hour period and one count of operating an off-highway vehicle in a closed area.

Hot line

If you have witnessed a poaching violation or have reason to believe poaching has occurred, call the Help Stop Poaching Hot Line at 800-662-DEER.

Obtain all pertinent information without placing yourself in danger.

- Compiled by Brett Prettyman

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