A Montana man could be facing prison time after campers tipped off the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to a possible mule deer poaching incident.

The incident took place on May 30, when officials believe that Erik Rautenberg fatally shot a mule deer near his campsite in southeastern Wyoming. According the the Cody Enterprise, witnesses reported seeing “an individual shooting a gun and a deer running up the hill. After they went out of sight, the couple ‘heard a volley of approximately 7-8 additional gunshots.’” Officials were not able to locate the suspect until the day after it was reported, due to the heavily wooded terrain.

Rautenberg is accused of firing at least seven shots from his 9x19mm Glock, several of which struck and killed to mule deer. According to an affidavit, Rautenberg said “he was not shooting at or toward the deer and was instead aiming at a tree stump.”

Officials used dogs to locate the mule deer carcass, which had been partially butchered. According to official documents, “Rautenberg confessed to killing the deer, shooting it once and then finishing it off since it was mortally wounded. He says he collected the back strap, cooked some, ate some and tossed the rest of it in the river, adding that his brother was so upset over the shooting that he refused to eat any of it.”

Image by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region on Wikimedia Commons

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