CUSTER COUNTY, Idaho — Two men each received a three-year hunting license revocation and fines after a mule deer buck was taken illegally near Rankin Creek last fall, Idaho Fish and Game announced Friday.
A witness informed Idaho's Citizen Against Poaching hotline that he saw two out-of-state hunters take a 3-by-4 mule deer buck from the area on Oct. 29, 2022. The Gem State's general deer hunting season closed on Oct. 24, 2022.
According to Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG), the witness reportedly told the shooter to turn himself in for the unlawful hunting, but the shooter never turned himself in to authorities.
The witness played a critical role in the investigation, giving officials details on the suspects, their vehicle and the location. Conservation officers were able to located the kill site near Rankin Creek.
At the kill site, fish and game officers collected DNA and found an unspent bullet. A list of possible suspects was condensed based on the hunters' description and vehicle information. The bullet also revealed who was the shooter in the incident.
Idaho Fish and Game cooperated with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the case to identify and interview both suspects – who eventually confessed to taking the mule deer buck from Unit 36.
The shooter did not have a Unit 36 tag, but only a Unit 39 deer tag. The man who killed the deer attempted to cover up the act by saying he did not harvest on his report, according to IDFG. After being charged, the two men appeared in Custer County Court.
Carlos Rodrigues received roughly $2,500 in fines and a three-year hunting license revocation. Tony Solorio received $1,530 in fines and the same hunting license revocation.
“Without the witness providing critical details, this case would likely not have been detected, let alone, solved,” Stanley-based IDFG conservation officer Austin Dupuis said. “License plate numbers are extremely important, as well as the location, time, and a description of the suspects.”
Anyone with information on poaching activity in Idaho is asked to call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at (800) 632-5999. Information can also be reported online here or through a local Idaho Fish and Game office.
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