BOISE, Idaho — A Lemhi man pled guilty on Feb. 7 to taking a trophy mule deer with a rifle during archery-only season, Idaho Fish and Game announced on Tuesday.
JT Johnson lost his hunting license for five years and must pay more than $2,100 in penalties and court costs in the poaching case. Officials said Johnson also had to forfeit the animal, in addition to a two-year probationary period.
The illegal-hunting case began after an archery hunter reported a rifle shot to Idaho Fish and Game during the 2022 season. The hunter also found the remains of a "large-bodied deer" after hearing the rifle shot.
According to fish and game, the archery hunter had been pursuing a large buck for three-consecutive years, and believed the remains he found belonged to the trophy deer.
IDFG Conservation Officers Chad Wippermann and Will Fuller through an investigation determined Johnson shot the deer with a rifle, not archery equipment, Tuesday's release said.
Idaho Fish and Game said the trophy deer's antlers scored around 180 point on the Boone and Crockett scoring system. Any antlers scoring above 150 points require a $2,000 Idaho enhanced civil penalty.
“Some hunters will go a lifetime looking for a deer this size,” Fuller said. "Having other hunters help us detect these types of crimes is essential and we encourage anyone with knowledge of poaching to call us so other treasures like this deer aren’t stolen.”
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