Big Piney man charged with poaching non-typical mule deer
by Pinedale Online!
Original post April 1, 2016 | Updated April 3, 2016
Charges have been filed against Big Piney resident Nathan Strong for allegedly poaching a mule deer out of season in the Hoback area of western Wyoming between Pinedale and Bondurant after hunting season had closed in the fall of 2015.
Hunters became suspicious of possible poaching when a head mount of a distinctive, large non-typical mule deer buck appeared on display at the 2016 Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah February 11-14 as a taxidermy specimen marked as taken by Nate Strong of Big Piney, Wyoming. Hunters thought they recognized the mount to be the same buck with distinctive antlers that many have photographed and been following over the past year. Many photographs were taken of the buck during the spring and summer season because of his unusual and interesting antlers. Photographs were also taken of the buck being alive after the Wyoming 2015 fall general deer season had closed. Strong posted photographs of himself with what appears to be the same animal on his Facebook page.
Wyoming Game & Fish conducted an investigation into the matter in February and formal charges were filed against Nate Strong on Tuesday, March 29th in Circuit Court in Sublette County. The charges are for knowingly Taking an Antlered Deer Without Proper License or During a Closed Season, which is a misdemeanor. The charge carries a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $10,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
According to the affidavit in the court documents, on February 16, 2016, Strong admitted to a Wildlife Investigator for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department that he had killed the buck and placed his white tailed deer license on the mule deer. Wyoming Game & Fish Department Forensic Laboratory delivered a report on March 18, 2016 indicating the deer taken by Strong was positively identified as a Mule Deer.
A court appearance has been scheduled for Strong to appear in Circuit Court in Pinedale on Monday, April 11th at 11:00AM.
Editor's update: 4/3/16 - This story was updated to correct a statement we made saying Mr. Strong posted pictures of himself with the alleged poached deer on his Facebook page. The picture he posted was of a mule deer he legally harvested in September 2015 during archery season.
Click on the links below for more on this story.
Breaking: 230" Mule Deer Poached In Wyoming By Brady Miller, gohunt.com, March 30, 2016
Big Piney Resident Nate Strong Charged in Poaching of Large Non-Typical Mule Deer Sweetwaternow.com, March 31, 2016
Ongoing Investigation Looks Into Potential Poaching of Deer Sweetwaternow.com, February 22, 2016
Wyoming Investigates Possible Poaching Of Nontypical Mule Deer By Kristen A. Schmitt, gohunt.com, February 24, 2016
Unusual mule deer poached in Wyoming, found at Utah expo By Christine Peterson, trib.com, March 31, 2016
Charging documents March 29, 2016, CR-2016-0076, Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial District, Sublette County, Wyoming