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Officials charge man in wildlife poaching

Officials charge man in wildlife poaching

HURRICANE — A southern Utah man has been arrested and charged with poaching seven buck deer.

Matthew Steven Spendlove, 25, of Hurricane, was charged in late July with four class A misdemeanor and three class B misdemeanor counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife. Court records indicate the poaching happened in 2007.

In November 2008, investigators from the Division of Wildlife Resources received a hot line tip from an anonymous caller reporting a person had killed a deer outside of hunting season.

Information was developed that led investigators to a home in Hurricane where a search warrant was served and seven sets of deer antlers were found, the DWR stated. In addition, cell phone pictures, a camera and a computer were seized. Each item contained photos that supported the DWR's case.

All of the deer were poached during the same year, and Spendlove indicted to authorities that he planned on doing more had he not been caught, according to the DWR.

Wildlife officials said they were concerned that poaching that many bucks in a relatively small area could decrease the buck population and narrow the genetic pool.

A bench trial is scheduled for Sept. 10 in St. George's 5th District Court.

The hot line for reporting poaching is 1-800-662-DEER (3337).

— Pat Reavy