As the news of a massive 24-point buck made its way through Connecticut, it managed to capture the attention of the state’s Environmental Conservation Police and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Reportedly taken in Bridgewater, Connecticut, the deer was inspected by officials and was found to be without the usual hide blemishes and imperfections caused by tick bites. This observation paired with the animal’s freakishly large rack led investigators to believe the deer was not, in fact, shot in the wild.
Further investigation led to the arrest of 65-year-old Wayne Simko on charges that he illegally transported the dead buck into Connecticut from a captive breeding facility in Pennsylvania. With fears swelling from reports of chronic wasting disease sprouting up in captive facilities across the country, officials had little trouble accessing a warrant for Simko’s arrest.
According to the EnCon Police Facebook Page:
“The investigation established that on Nov. 5, 2016, Wayne Simko hunted and harvested a 24-point buck from a captive deer farm in Pennsylvania. Simko did not process the meat for consumption, did not clean the deer as required prior to preparing it for mounting and illegally brought the whole buck back to Connecticut. He then tagged the buck and falsely reported it as being harvested in Bridgewater.”
The animal was scheduled to be scored by the Pope & Young Club given the uniqueness of its antlers but was later declined by the club who has a strict policy on scoring only wild deer for official record keeping.