By Yoohyun Jung
Two men from the Tucson area allegedly poached three white-tailed deer, including one which had twin fawns, the Arizona Game and Fish Department says.
On Aug. 23, an archery hunter reported discovering three deer that appeared to have been shot with a rifle, according to a news release from the department. Rifle hunting was not allowed at the time, though the archery deer hunting season opened one day earlier on Aug. 22.
Game and Fish officers were given a tip about one suspect through the Operation Game Thief Hotline, the department said.
An investigation led to two possible suspects, who the department said admitted to killing the five deer. The two men implicated in the case have been identified as Christopher Ball and Christopher Perez.
Evidence also indicated that the men were allegedly involved in over 150 game violations between summer of 2013 and summer of 2014, according to the Game and Fish department. Some of the violations included poaching of 15 deer and other small species, such as reptiles, a hawk, a bobcat and a fox.
Operation Game Thief and "a concerned citizen" offered up to $1,500 for information leading to an arrest in the case, the department said. The Arizona chapter of Safari Club International and the Arizona Deer Association also offered $500 each for a conviction. Other groups later pledged an additional $600.
The maximum penalty for poaching is six months in jail and $750 in fine for each violation, the department said. Other consequences include civil penalties and license revocations.
The Game and Fish department urged the public with information about wildlife violations to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700.