SALT LAKE CITY — A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a Washington County man suspected of poaching a trophy buck deer in Iron County,
According to a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Ethan Lebaron, 29, used archery equipment and a spotlight to shoot and kill the deer around 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 of 2019 near Quichapa Canyon.
A witness saw the spotlight in the dark and called the UTIP Hotline, 1-800-662-3337.
Two conservation officers arrived at the scene and located three men and the dead deer. The deer was seized, but because it had not been field dressed, the meat had spoiled and was unable to be donated.
Because the buck's antlers measured at 24.5 inches, killing it was a felony-level offense. The minimum restitution for illegally killing a trophy mule deer in Utah is $8,000.
Due to the nature of the incident, conservation officers are also recommending a hunting license suspension.
Lebaron was charged in Fifth District Court with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a 3rd-degree felony, and with a tagging requirement violation, a class B misdemeanor, on Nov. 15, 2019.
Charges are still being screened for two men who were with Lebaron at the time.
Lebaron had his initial court appearance on Feb. 4, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 24 in Iron County's Cedar City District Court.
"We would like to thank the public for continuing to use the UTIP hotline to report illegal and suspicious wildlife activity," DWR Law Enforcement Chief Justin Shirley said.