Massive Poached California Deer Leads to Trophy Penalty Enhancement

California Poached Deer with Trophy-Sized Antlers
California Poached Deer with Trophy-Sized Antlers

USA -(Ammoland.com)- A Sacramento County man entered a no contest plea Tuesday to charges of poaching a huge blacktail deer in Sacramento County.

John Frederick Kautz, 51, of Lodi, was charged with possession of an illegally poached deer and falsification of deer tag reporting information, both misdemeanors, following a three-month investigation.

Kautz illegally killed the trophy-sized buck on private property in Wilton in December 2016, two months after the deer season closed in the area. The deer had an antler spread of 31 inches with four antler points on one side and five on the other, which is an unusually large size for this part of California.

Kautz transported the illegally killed deer across state lines to Nevada to have the deer head mounted by a taxidermist. Kautz was also working through the process of scoring the trophy class buck to have it entered into the Safari Club International hunting record book.

The deer’s trophy-sized antlers would have been surely accepted if the animal had been legally taken. However, the poaching conviction for the buck makes it ineligible for that recognition.

Working on a tip provided in September 2017, Wildlife Officers Sean Pirtle and Anthony Marrone spent an exhaustive three months on the investigation, collecting evidence that would prove the year-old incident was an act of poaching.

Through extensive interviews, multiple search warrants and forensic analysis of computer records, and with the help of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Computer Crimes Unit, they slowly pieced together the puzzle.

Then, collaborating with Nevada game wardens who conducted multiple follow-up interviews outside of California, they worked together in an attempt to track down the actual deer that had been mounted by the Nevada taxidermist.

All California wildlife officers are federally deputized to investigate fish and wildlife crimes anywhere in the United States. The wildlife officers submitted the case to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office for prosecution.

On Dec. 19, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney David Brown announced a plea bargain resulting in a conviction of two poaching related misdemeanors.

Kautz was sentenced to two days in county jail, placed on three years probation with a search and seizure clause, ordered to surrender the mounted deer head and was prohibited by the court from hunting or accompanying anyone else who is hunting during his probation.

The fine was set at $5,000 pursuant to a new legislation and regulation package which took effect on July 1, 2017, increasing penalties associated with poaching “trophy class” or very large wild game animals.

California Department of Fish and WildlifeThe vast majority of hunters are ethical and abide by hunting laws and regulations, including the individual who provided this tip that helped lead to Kautz’s conviction.

“We would like to thank our wildlife law enforcement partners in Nevada and the CHP, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office for their assistance in this investigation and the subsequent prosecution, and the hunter who gave us the original tip,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Law Enforcement Division Chief.

“We are also pleased how the newly effective legislation and regulations package helped increase the penalties in this case to hopefully deter others from the same poaching behavior. A case like this is exactly why this package was enacted.”

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    RattlerjakeBob PuzzlesROD KLOMPEowynDanny Helton Recent comment authors
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    ROD KLOMP
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    ROD KLOMP

    Any of these ass holes that feel they are above the law , by poaching our wildlife need to be put away and pay large fines, all States should do the same..

    Eowyn
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    Eowyn

    So, an illegal alien, with multiple convictions and deportations, murders a young woman, and gets off scot-free. Some dolt kills a buck out of season, and stupidly has to brag about it by trying to get it in the record books, and he gets more punishment than the murderer. Wow.

    Bob Puzzles
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    Bob Puzzles

    You forgot the charge on firearm possession. Apparently possession of a firearm in California is seen as a far worse crime than murder! Anyway that is what he was charged with and got off with time served.

    Rattlerjake
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    Rattlerjake

    Yeah but the DOJ has issued an indictment against this illegal cretin. We’ll have to see how Sessions handles it!
    I have no sympathy for this poacher. If he killed the deer to feed his family I could see cutting him some slack, but poaching it for the trophy is not only cheating it is greed. O don’t really think that a longer sentence was in order, but I do think that a substantially higher fine was in order – fines should be based on the individuals assets. $5000 to a wealthy guy is pocket change.

    Danny Helton
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    Danny Helton

    He needs at least 60 days in jail.

    Hunter427
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    Hunter427

    Wow all that effort, manpower hours, cost to tax payers for this big case. I know of homicide cases that got less money and resources to attempt to solve. But when the state wants to set an example look out

    Saddletramp
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    Saddletramp

    Five years in prison would have been a more suitable penalty.