Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials are investigating a number of juveniles in Emery County and have arrested two people in Tooele County in two separate cases involving the poaching of more than 20 deer.
Captain Mitch Lane is with the DWR. He says at least two high school students in Emery County are being investigated for shooting up to 18 deer, with multiple deer on different nights since December 20th of last year.
“We’ve been able to tie all these deer to the same, in this case, firearm via ballistic evidence," the Captain says,"but it appears to us now that that firearm was used by more than one person, you know, to kill these 18 deer.”
Lane says that investigation is on-going and charges have yet to be filed with the Emery County Attorney. He says the DWR got involved with the Tooele case when a resident called city officers reporting gunshots and a suspicious vehicle. Lane says officers found the suspects and followed tracks in the snow to a buck that had just been killed. He says Devin Scott Barger of Tooele and Brandon Wade Dixon of West Valley City were arrested at the site.
“What’s ironic is they were arrested for the taking of that deer on January 7th but also they were our primary suspects in another deer that was poached back in late July of 2015,” says Lane.
He says further investigation has linked those suspects to four other deer shot without a permit. Lane says the Tooele resident who called authorities did exactly the right thing by being aware of suspicious activity and calling the police.