Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS

Cody man gets hefty fine, restitution for illegal buck shooting

December 19, 2011

By Mark Heinz, CodyEnterprise.com

The illegal shooting of a mule deer buck Nov. 27 has left a Cody man facing a $500 fine and $4,000 in restitution.

Hugh Dean Currah was found guilty Dec. 2 in Park County Circuit Court, records state.

A witness had been taking photos of the buck along the Greybull Highway just moments before it was shot, Game and Fish warden Travis Crane said. He declined to identify the witness.

Currah was hunting on a general deer tag, which allows for the taking of either bucks or does during the first 10 days of November. After that, only does may be legally hunted on a general tag.

Currah was hunting with permission on private property, Crane said.

"He claimed to be shooting at a doe, but the evidence does not point to that," Crane said.

He said the witness told him she had pulled over to take photos of the buck, which Crane described as "not huge, but still a good, mature, heavy-horned four point."

After watching the buck get shot, the witness called Crane.

Crane said he went to Currah's home and found that Currah had already skinned the deer, and was in the process of sawing the antlers off its head.

"If this had been an accident, I would have expected the hunter to call me,"
Crane said.

It's not unheard of for the wrong sex of deer to be accidentally shot, but Crane said hunters have a much better change of being let off easier if they promptly call in such mistakes.

Buck hunting closes earlier, because the rut, or mating season, typically begins in mid-November, Crane said.

G&F believes bucks would be too easy to hunt when distracted by the rut.

Crane said he confiscated the deer carcass and antlers from Currah.

Restitution amounts are set according to calculations of a game animal's value to the state, as estimated by the Game and Fish Commission, Crane said.

"They figure in the cost of a non-resident hunting license, plus all costs related to a typical hunt," he added. "In the case of a mule deer buck, that comes out to $4,000."

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