A Michigan man recently pleaded guilty to taking a buck mule deer west of Cody without a license.

Stephen Kovacs was ordered in Circuit Court to pay $750 in court fines and $4,000 in restitution to the Wyoming Wildlife Protectors Association.

Kovacs will lose all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for three years.

According to Game and Fish warden Travis Crane, he was able to close the case because he witnessed the crime and collected critical evidence at the scene.

On Nov. 6, Crane witnessed the shooting of a buck mule deer in the Wall Creek drainage on the North Fork of the Shoshone River.

Crane said Kovacs was contacted at the site and he denied shooting his rifle or knowing there was a dead buck mule deer nearby.

Four other people in Kovacs’ hunting party also denied knowledge of the illegally harvested buck.

Boot tracks matching the tread pattern of Kovacs’ boots were found at the location of the deer carcass, and casings matching a round from Kovacs’ rifle were found nearby from where the deer was shot.

After Crane seized Kovacs’ rifle and boots and issued a citation, Kovacs confessed to shooting the deer.

“Kovacs admitted he got excited when he saw the buck, and was hoping to fill a deer tag for another member of his party,” Crane said.

(Betsy Simon can be reached at betsy@codyenterprise.com.)

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