Big Piney Resident Nate Strong Charged in Poaching of Large Non-Typical Mule Deer

Big Piney Resident Nate Strong Charged in Poaching of Large Non-Typical Mule Deer

SUBLETTE COUNTY — A Sublette County man has been charged with the alleged illegal taking of a large non-typical mule deer. According to court documents filed in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial District in Sublette County the defendant Nate Strong, of Big Piney allegedly admitted to taking the large buck and placing a white-tailed deer license on the non-typical mule deer.

The case against Strong began when the hunting community began reporting that a familiar face was on display at the 2016 Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City. A large non-typical mule deer that was well known to the locals in Pinedale had been taken and mounted for display by Monarch Taxidermy of South Jordan, Utah.

At the time, photos were circulating of the mule deer alive and well. The photos appear to have been taken after the 2015 general deer season had closed.

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Wyoming Game and Fish Game Warden Adam Hymas, who is stationed at the Pinedale Office, referred the case to Wildlife Investigator Jim Gregory and the State Investigative Team on February 13th, 2016.

Gregory called on Utah Conservation Officer Rick Olson and asked him to stop by the Hunting Expo to investigate and photograph the display in question.

Olson located the display and met with the taxidermist identified as Curtis Wilson. Olson secured permission to photograph the display from Wilson, who also voluntarily provided the work order and affidavit for the display. It was signed by Nate Strong. He had supplied a $400 deposit on the taxidermy work which totaled $700.

The work order listed the species of the animal as ‘mule deer’. Wilson said that a person known to him as Nate Strong had made the final payment for the mounting and had taken the mounted mule deer into his possession on February 13th or 14th.

According to Pinedale Game Warden Hymas, he was familiar with the defendant and knew Strong had taken a large typical mule deer buck in September 2015 on a Wyoming Resident General License.

An examination of Strong’s publicly viewable Facebook page revealed pictures of Strong posing with the large typical mule deer he took in 2015.

A search of the Game and Fish showed that Strong had applied for and received a 2015 HA138 Type 3 Deer License.

The license described is only good for a specific hunt area in Sublette County and was species specific, being valid for white-tailed deer only.

Hymas said that, in November 2015, Strong had commented to him that he had observed a significant number of large mule deer bucks while trying to fill the white-tailed deer license.

A search warrant was applied for and received for a search and seizure directed towards Strong.

On February, 24th the mounted non-typical buck and other evidence items were delivered to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Forensic Laboratory for species and gender identification.

The lab determined that Nathan Strong took a non-typical buck deer. It was genetically identified as a mule deer and not a white-tailed deer, as Strong had originally stated.

Strong could face up to a year in jail and or a fine of no less than $5,000 and no more than $10,000.

The charge is a misdemeanor.

Correction: This story incorrectly stated that Nate Strong is a Pinedale resident but has been corrected to say he is from Big Piney.