‘Dead heads’ found by Utah DWR officials at the residence of Michael Grant, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A Cedar City man who recently pleaded guilty to wildlife violations has been sentenced to 18 months of probation.

Michael Steven Grant, 25, pleaded guilty in 5th District Court on Nov. 16 to one count of wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a class A misdemeanor, one count of illegally taking, transporting or selling protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor and one count of having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, a class B misdemeanor.

In handing down the sentencing, Judge Matthew L. Bell suspended all of the jail time associated with the three counts and also waived nearly all of the more than $8,700 in fines, with Grant having to pay just $159 in fines, plus $400 toward the Utah Stop Poaching Fund, according to the plea agreement.

During his court-supervised probation period, Grant is to complete 50 hours of community service and commit no further violations of the law. His first probation review hearing is scheduled for March 22.

As previously reported in Cedar City News, Grant was charged with the violations in late March, three months after Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officers had received a tip about a poached deer at a residence on Dec. 23, 2019.

A decal on Division of Wildlife Resources Officer Joshua Carver’s patrol vehicle displays the telephone tip line number for poaching violations, St. George, Utah, Oct. 20, 2017 | File photo by Mike Cole, St. George News / Cedar City News

Upon further investigation, authorities discovered the antlers of a buck deer, which they later learned had been killed illegally in the mountains west of Cedar City in November 2018, during deer breeding season.

In addition, investigators also discovered the heads of two trophy buck deer, which they determined had died two to three days earlier. During an interview, Grant claimed he had found the dead animals and harvested their heads; however, they weren’t reported to DWR, as is required by law.

“You have to report ‘dead heads’ – animals with antlers still attached to the skull – when you find them, so officers can investigate and make sure the animals didn’t die under suspicious circumstances,” DWR conservation officer Joshua Carver said in a press release sent out shortly after Grant’s initial arrest. “If it is determined that the animal died of natural causes, oftentimes, the person who finds and reports the animal can be granted a certificate to keep the antlers.”

For more information on how to help conservation officers fight poaching in Utah, visit the DWR website.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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