On the same day that we heard of the fawn rescue, a couple of us went out looking for the perfect place to set our traps. We were in the woods for no more than 15 minutes before we heard a gun shot. We had noticed a pick-up truck parked in the same area we were parked, but we didn’t think much of it.
After we heard the gun shot, I actually wondered if the shot wasn’t directed at us. It was that close. We never heard anything else. Shortly after, we ended up heading back to the truck to go finish getting the other two traps ready to bring out the area. The other truck was gone.
We returned later that afternoon, and we came across a trail of blood that had looked like something exploded. It seemed to have been in a frenzy, as the blood trail zig zagged over itself and looped around before we found what caused it–a whitetail doe had been gut shot.
Being that rifle season had ended, and it was definitely a gun shot in the doe, we were certain the doe was poached. We even found a person’s tracks walking practically right up to the deer. We took pictures of as much as we could while one member of our small group ran back to the road, where there was better cell service, and called 1-800-TIP-MONT to report what we found.
It was sad that somebody would do this. We couldn’t figure out if the person was hunting for deer illegally or if he was illegally baiting coyotes and wolves by killing this animal? Either way, we were appalled.
We decided to pull out of the area and not set any more traps until after the warden cleared the area. We were certain we would not see the same truck again, and we were certain it was the person driving that truck who did the shooting.
The next morning, the warden cleared us to head back into the area, and as bright as day, the same truck was there just after dawn! We couldn’t believe it! Was this perso insanely arrogant? Did he/she just have a blatant disregard for animal game laws? It puzzled us, and we called the FWP again, feeling a little badly because it was Christmas Eve, but we didn’t want this person to kill anything else.
We met the warden for the area, and it turns out, it was okay to shoot deer with muzzle loaders if you have a tag. That still didn’t explain why the person practically walked back to the deer and then turned around and left. Picking up brass maybe? Baiting? Who knows.
The person ended up being a man who worked mostly out of town and was only in town for the weekend, and he was leaving again that day. He supposedly told the FWP that he had no idea he even hit the deer, and he also told them that “he was sick” when he heard the crows and realized he had connected with his target.
We aren’t really sure what the outcome was, but I am not so sure I believe this man’s story. His boot tracks went right up to this deer, and that doesn’t make sense that he claimed he didn’t see a blood trail. There is no way you could’ve missed it. There was blood everywhere.
What do you think? Does this sound like an innocent miss? Or, do you believe it is an intentional poaching case, in that he decided he didn’t want the particular deer he shot? I would like to believe it wasn’t poaching, but the evidence leads to it being just that.