A 5 x 5 mule deer buck laid in the streets of Uptown Butte, Montana Monday morning sporting a fresh bullet wound to his side.

Law enforcement officers found the buck early Monday morning collapsed by the gutter on North Main Street east of the Original Mine Yard.  As it is illegal to discharge a firearm within city limits, officials immediately recognized the incident as a blatant act of poaching.

In addition to illegally killing the deer out of season and within city limits, given the time of death, it is likely the person who shot the deer is also guilty of using artificial lighting to take the shot.

Warden Sergeant with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Coy Kline noted that the deer was well recognized in the Butte and Walkerville areas, often giving on-lookers unique photo opportunities.  When asked to describe the animal he stated it to be a healthy, mature deer with a “nice big rack.”

In light of the incident, the Treasure State Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation has ponied up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons that committed the offense and is asking for anyone with information to come forward.

“We just decided that it would be a good idea to help out … people talk, friends talk,’’ Chapter president Mark Clark told the Independent Record.

In addition to getting involved with incidents like these, the Treasure State Chapter continually fights poaching, often supplying decoys and cameras for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

People with information are encouraged to call the toll-free hotline 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668). Tipsters may remain anonymous, and could also receive a reward from TIP-MONT.

H/T: Independent Record
Image:  Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks