Buck in a Buick
Buck in a Buick
District Game Warden Jon Peterson
In November of 2017, I received a phone call through the Report All Poachers hotline from an individual who wanted to remain anonymous and report that a whitetail buck had been poached.
The individual said they knew of a deer that had been shot and stuffed in the trunk of a car and the individual who committed the crime did not have a deer license and shot the deer after dark. I asked the reporting party if they could give me information on where the vehicle would be located and who the person was that poached the deer.
Once I had that information the reporting party stated that it would be very apparent if the deer was still in the trunk of the car because this had happened 3 days earlier and the reason that the reporting party was calling it in was that it was so rotten at this point that it bothered them that not only was the animal poached but it was wasted, and no meat was salvageable at this point. I told the individual that I would investigate the incident and see what I could find.
I went to the address that was given to me extremely late one evening to have the cover of darkness to do surveillance on the property and see what I could find. I located the vehicle that supposedly had the deer in the trunk at the address that was given. It was late enough in the night that I could not see any lights on in the house and didn’t see any activity, but I confirmed the location of the vehicle and the information that was given to me was looking to be legitimate.
The next day I got up in the morning and positioned my truck a half mile to the east of the house to watch for any movement around the property.
I noticed there were a few people home and the vehicle was still sitting in the same spot it had been the night before. I watched the property for a few hours to see if the individual who I was looking for was at the house. I saw him come outside and have a smoke so I knew that he was home and that I could ask him some questions with the car at the location.
When he went back inside after his cigarette, I decided that I wanted to drive by the vehicle to see if I could notice anything since the vehicle was pulled off the main gravel road just a few yards. When I drove by the vehicle, I noticed that there was blood on the rear bumper and bloody handprints on the trunk.
At this point I knew I had the right vehicle and decided to go talk to the individual. I knocked on the door and introduced myself and asked the individual if he would be willing to talk to me outside.
I told him why I was there, and he told me everything that I needed to make the case. The deer had been stuffed in the trunk a few days ago so when he opened the trunk to show me the deer it was shocking to see the size of this buck and how it barely fit in the back of this vehicle.
It still had the guts inside, so the smell was awful, and it was quite challenging getting this deer out of the trunk of the car as it was frozen at this point.
Once the deer was out, I could tell that no meat could be salvaged off the animal like the reporting party had told me. I seized the buck, and the individual was charged and convicted of hunting big game without a license and unlawful taking of a big game animal.
The information that came to me through the Report All Poachers line was awesome and this case would have never been made without it.
The location where all of this happened was in an area that is so remote that I did not even know the house was there until I had to conduct this investigation.
We as game wardens try hard to keep up with these investigations but we cannot be watching every person that takes to the field in North Dakota and the help of this anonymous individual was incredible.
It is a case that I won’t forget anytime soon, and will forever be known to me as the “Buck in a Buick.”