UPDATE: Officials have received a confession in this case, but have not yet released the name of the suspect.
The mule deer population in Ennis was reduced by one Monday night when a poacher killed one of the large bucks that has recently been seen around town.
The buck was shot between Main Street and Stephens Street, behind the businesses, said local game warden Ryan Gosse.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the poacher. Madison County Crime Stoppers is adding up to $500 to the reward as well, said Crime Stopper spokesman Wayne Black.
The buck was shot after dark Monday night, Gosse said. The gut pile was discovered Tuesday morning behind the Madison River Fishing Company.
“I would hope this would make most of the people in town disgusted, not only because of the illegal hunting but because of shooting a gun around houses,” Gosse said.
Both mule deer and whitetail deer come in and out of Ennis. Most recently, two large mule deer bucks have been seen in town with a group of does.
Chances are the poacher, even though he or she took the meat, was after the antlers, he said.
“It probably wasn’t for the meat – at least they took it, but it was for the antlers because it was a buck,” Gosse said.
Anyone with information about the crime can call 1-877-NOCRME1 (1-877-662-7631) or 1-800 TIPMONT. Callers can remain anonymous.