ANTIMONY, Utah — A family in Garfield County is outraged after accusing a Division of Wildlife Resource Officer of trespassing onto their property to kill a domesticated deer.
It happened Wednesday in south-central Utah in the small town of Antimony.
DWR says the doe is no longer afraid of humans and claim it killed a dog.
“Just reckless, reckless,” Cole Montague said.
That’s how he feels about the DWR conservation officer who fired a weapon near his Antimony home.
“The DWR is supposed to protect wildlife and he comes onto my property and shoots a deer in the face,” Montague said.
The doe named Sadee survives with a mark between the eyes. She’s spent time on the property since she was an orphaned fawn.
Montague insists she was practically raised by his dogs — which is why the accusations she killed one don’t make sense to him, as well as what he says the officer did next.
“My sister and wife ran over to him and told him again to get off our property. ‘You are on private property now, get off.’ [He was] walking around with a deer rifle trying to scare the deer up so he could kill her,” Montague said.
After failing to kill Sadee with the first shot, Montague said the officer went around to the back of the property for another opportunity.
“The point of the story is that the DWR is crossing the line, trespassing, firing a gun on our property. He had no permission, no search warrant,” Montague said.
"We received a phone call from the Garfield County Sheriff's office about a deer that had killed a dog,” DWR Capt. Wyatt Bubak said.
Bubak said Sadee is considered a public risk, adding that the officer attempted to contact the Montagues before trying to euthanize her.
“That officer operated completely within our policies and procedures, but that's not to say this situation, we can't learn from, we can't improve on,” Bubak said.
Montague argues it should have never happened.
“If this guy was following policy and procedure, that’s not right. They’ve got to change some stuff,” Montague said.
The Garfield County Sheriff tells FOX 13 there is no evidence that Sadee killed a dog and that the report is unfounded.
Bubak said the incident will be investigated internally by the DWR as well as the organization that oversees law enforcement officers.