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Utah lawmaker charged with poaching

Posted at 9:47 AM, Oct 25, 2021

FILLMORE, Utah — A St. George-area lawmaker has been charged with poaching and weapons offenses.

Rep. Travis Seegmiller, R-St. George, was charged by the Millard County Attorney's Office last week with class B misdemeanor unlawful taking of protected wildlife and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He is accused of shooting a deer as it walked through the yard of a private residence in the town of New Harmony.

Rep. Seegmiller did not immediately respond to messages from FOX 13 seeking comment.

According to the St. George News, Rep. Seegmiller was accused of shooting a doe as it was on private property, from a vehicle. The animal crossed a road where it died on another piece of private property. Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources said he had a hunting permit, but the killing on private property is illegal.

"Seegmiller then entered onto the property and was confronted by the homeowner who heard the gunshot. It’s also illegal to hunt on private property and to go onto private property to retrieve the animal without written permission from the land owner," said Faith Heaton Jolley, a spokesperson for Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources.

After being confronted by the homeowner, Jolley said Seegmiller loaded the deer into his vehicle and left the scene before officers arrived. The deer was later seized as part of the investigation.

The case was given to the Millard County Attorney to screen because of conflicts of interest given Rep. Seegmiller's elected position in southern Utah. In a statement to FOX 13, House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said they would be watching the case unfold.

"This weekend, I was informed of Millard County’s intention to charge Rep. Travis Seegmiller with three misdemeanor offenses. I am deeply troubled by the accusations. We will continue to monitor the situation as it makes its way through the courts," Speaker Wilson said.

Beyond the criminal charges, Rep. Seegmiller could face action from the House of Representatives, if he is convicted. He could be censured or expelled from the body.

Rep. Seegmiller was originally appointed to his seat after his predecessor, Jon Stanard, quit after an escort claimed to a British tabloid that Stanard had paid her for a pair of sexual encounters.