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Utah Men Charged with Poaching 18 Trophy Mule Deer

May 26, 2009.

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

Four Utah County men have been charged with killing 18 buck deer in Juab County.

Poached trophies

Photo by Scott Root

Seven of the deer had antler spreads of more than 24 inches, making them "trophy" animals under Utah law. One of the seven deer was a massive buck with a 30-inch antler spread.

The case is one of the state's biggest poaching cases in recent memory.

Thirty-eight-year-old Rex Powell, 42-year-old Joseph Pantos, 30-year-old Ryan Hoover and 21-year-old Chris Vance face third-degree felony or misdemeanor counts for wanton destruction of protected wildlife, more commonly known as poaching.

Officers with the Division of Wildlife Resources have been investigating the case since 2007, when members of the public began discovering deer carcasses within the boundaries of the well-known Vernon limited-entry deer hunting unit.

The investigation led officers to Powell's home. Officers seized three mounted deer heads and 15 sets of antlers after serving a search warrant in March 2009.

The four men now face time in prison and more than $60,000 in fines.

They may also lose their hunting privileges in 31 states involved in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

Utah is among the states involved in the compact.

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