Two “giant” deer were killed last week near Bakersfield, allegedly by poachers, according to Missouri Department of Conservation agent Tom Leeker. He confiscated the deer Aug. 28 after receiving several calls from area residents reporting the out-of-season kills, he said.
One of the deer had a rack with 17 scorable points and totaled 199 inches of antler, a common measure of comparison for trophy deer, with the measurement totaling the length of all the tines and the circumference of the antlers’ base. “It was a giant – a really, really big deer,” Leeker said.
A second deer totaled 11 points and about 140 inches of antler, he said.
Leeker said he started hearing about the deer kills early last week. “You can’t imagine how many calls I got about these deer,” he said.
He got a tip about the identity of the poachers and went to a Bakersfield residence to interview the suspects. The two men eventually confessed to shooting the deer.
“They said they were shining a light out into a field and saw the first deer and shot it. They saw another big deer and came back later and shot it too,” he said.
The shots were fired with a .22-250 rifle, he said.
Leeker ticketed the two men for taking deer outside of a closed season and taking deer using an artificial light. Names are not being released pending the filing of formal charges.
At first there was a question as to whether the deer might have come from a privately owned game ranch being developed near Bakersfield. But Leeker said he contacted the owner of the game operation and after the owner saw photos of the deer, he said he didn’t believe they were his. The game-ranch owner’s stock can be identified through DNA testing, if necessary.
“But it looks like these deer were just here,” Leeker said, adding that “it’s very unusual to see deer this big in Ozark County, but sometimes God just blesses us with something really special.”