A Lodi man pleaded no contest this week to illegally shooting a massive trophy blacktail deer out of season in Sacramento County.
John Frederick Kautz, 52, of Lodi, was charged with possession of an illegally killed deer and falsification of deer tag reporting information, both misdemeanors, stemming from a three-month investigation by officers at the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The officers alleged that Kautz illegally killed the buck on private property in Wilton in December 2016, two months after the region’s deer-hunting season ended. The buck had an impressive sprawling set of antlers – five points on one side, four on the other – that would have made it eligible for the trophy record books had it been hunted legally, wildlife officers said.
After getting a tip in September that Kautz had poached the deer, wildlife officers Sean Pirtle and Anthony Marrone spent the next three months investigating the case. With the help of officers from Nevada and the California Highway Patrol’s Computer Crimes Unit, the two officers were able to prove that Kautz killed the buck and took its head to Nevada to have it mounted by a taxidermist, officers said. Officials said Kautz was trying to score it in a trophy hunting record book.
Kautz pleaded no contest Tuesday to two poaching-related misdemeanors.
He was sentenced to two days in Sacramento County jail, placed on three years probation with a search and seizure clause and ordered to surrender the stuffed deer head. Under his plea bargain, he’s prohibited from hunting or accompanying anyone else who is hunting during his probation. He was fined $5,000, wildlife officers said.
Kautz’s attorney wasn’t listed Friday in online Sacramento County Superior Court records. He couldn’t be reached for comment.