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California man poaches trophy blacktail buck


California Blacktail deer
Photo credit: The Sacramento Bee

Real estate developer, Ironstone Vineyard owner, CrossFit gym owner and adventurist Jack Kautz can add a new label to his list of accomplishments: poacher. Kautz is guilty of illegally killing a massive trophy-worthy blacktail deer buck on one of his family’s vineyard properties near Wilton, California two months after the season ended, The Sacramento Bee reports.

The investigation started in September following a tip that Kautz had illegally killed the trophy buck the previous year. The tipster gave Warden Sean Pirtle a photo of Kautz with the dead buck; its unique antlers (five points on one side; four on the other) were hard to ignore. According to Pirtle, “The antlers of this deer were abnormally large and one of the biggest deer I have ever observed alive or dead in this part of California.”

In fact, the buck was one of the largest blacktail deer that California Department of Fish and Wildlife game wardens had ever seen – and one that would have made it into the record books if it had been harvested legally. The buck’s antlers “would likely have put it in the running for California’s largest-ever blacktail,” according to The Sacramento Bee.

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According to CDFW’s investigation, Kautz tried to cover up the kill, hiding the trophy buck’s head at a friend’s house, essentially giving investigators the run-around as they tried to piece together the investigation.

While Kautz’s actions certainly made him appear guilty, his attorney, Joe Welch, says that Kautz killed the deer because it had a broken leg. “It had lost substantial weight, and it was obviously going to die,” Welch told The Sacramento Bee. “He did what any reasonable person would do. He killed the deer to put it out of its misery.”

Regardless, Kautz pleaded no contest on Dec. 19 to two misdemeanor violations, which earned him two days in Sacramento County jail, three years hunting probation and a $5,000 fine. In addition to the fines and probation, the buck’s head and antlers have been confiscated permanently from Kautz and will be used for educational purposes.


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Robin R. - posted 1 year ago on 01-11-2018 08:35:56 am

We should all be thankful this outstanding, humane, but above all, "reasonable person", was there to put that poor, gargantuan buck down. It must've just slipped his mind for a year to report it. And if there WAS a broken leg, which there wasn't, the moron probably swerved in his car (tractor) and hit it, and finally saw it again two months later. Being the reasonable person he is, he finished it off. Dirtbag!!! Buck probably just had too much of the grape. And for somebody with $, $5,000 is nothing. Not being able to hunt (er, poach) is worse than the fine. And with a max. of a $40,000 fine, what animal, if not this one, merits the maximum? 12 and 1/2 % of the maximum for this, possibly the biggest of all California blacktails. For shame!!!

JUSTIN M. - posted 1 year ago on 01-08-2018 09:13:59 pm

I feel the same as most. If you are truly a criminal (not sure here) you can take the fine and punishment and move on. If you get caught every 10-15 years it would be worth it giving other guide fees for doing this legally. I think it is funny when people talk about fines. It is not the fines for this particular buck... the fines actually covered multiple bucks he has probably killed in the past that bother me. Longer length of license loss should happen.

Drew B. - posted 1 year ago on 01-07-2018 07:31:06 pm

Loser. No more hunting for this shlep for life.

David C. - posted 1 year ago on 01-07-2018 06:31:26 pm

I have put a deer out of it's misery before. (it had been hit by a car and was missing its lower jaw)
You don't pose for a picture like this under those circumstances........

Bendrix B. - posted 1 year ago on 01-05-2018 02:07:02 pm
Rochester, MA

Attorneys are such easy liars that they don’t even hear the hollowness of their lies. Put it out of its misery... What any reasonable person would do... The attorney should get jail time for being a scumbag.

Gary H. - posted 1 year ago on 01-05-2018 11:39:44 am

Once a thief always a thief. I'm sure this isn't his first time doing something stupid and he deserves to be "branded".

He should feel like a massive POS.

Just pointing that out.

Erik S. - posted 1 year ago on 01-05-2018 08:10:01 am

Guys, take into consideration this man will have this on his name/reputation for life, its a major embarrassment. Plus the new trophy fines in CA are a maximum of $40,000 so he isnt just being fined 5K (thats only the base line). And he will never see his mount/head again, which he probably paid 500-1000 for. Im sure this guy feels like a massive POS right now considering he is a well liked guy in his town, and his face is plastered all over social media and the Sac Bee. Not trying to justify anything here, just pointing out that the punishment is way more than stated.

Daniel E. - posted 1 year ago on 01-04-2018 08:57:07 pm
Cayucos, CA

How is it that poachers like this can ever hunt again?! There's not much deterrent with a three year ban and 5k. Many people would pay over 5k for a shot at this buck legally. This doesn't take into account the damage that people like this do to the rest of us busting our asses to do it the right way.

Alexandre V. - posted 1 year ago on 01-04-2018 11:48:42 am
Salt Lake City, UT

5k? That's it? That's a slap on the wrist for someone who appears to be well off, whether that's the case who knows.

Chad D. - posted 1 year ago on 01-04-2018 08:08:37 am

His family's winery is back in my home town, this isn't surprising news at all. The fine needs to be steeper, hell he could have spent a little more money and gone down to El Chaparral Ranch.