Prize Buck Stolen, Thieves Fined
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
MENASHA, WI--A bizarre theft in the Fox Valley. A Menasha man's prize buck is stolen, dragged by a car and thrown into the Fox River. Now, months later, the deer has been recovered and three people are facing big fines.
The DNR has fined the thieves thousands of dollars each. But the hunter who bagged the eight-point- buck says it won't replace the biggest deer he's ever shot.
Kelly Sokel's trophy buck is reduced to broken antlers.
"It's kind of hard to be able to hold it all back together. When it got ran over it actually ruined it quite a bit" said Sokel.
His hopes to mount it in his collection, shattered too.
"It's in a lot of bits and pieces now" said Sokel.
It all started at Hank's Tavern in Menasha in November. Sokel had the buck on display in the back of his truck. But two women who'd gotten into a disagreement with Sokel, stole the deer and ran it over.
"This part was still connected to the deer head and got wedged up under their Cadillac, and they drove about a half mile to a mile down the street with it wedged under their vehicle" said Sokel.
With the help of a male friend, the women threw the 175-pound deer into the Fox River where it washed up weeks later.
"I can't believe that two grown women would want to just mutilate a deer that is already dead" said Sokel.
D.N.R warden Ryan Propson cited each woman for larceny of wild game, the harshest possible penalty. That's more than $2100 each plus lus a $263 ticket for dumping the deer on public land.
"I think it's appropriate to go with something that shows what that hunter lost," said Propson.
A loss Sokel can't gain back.
"It cost me and my family and friends a lot of good eating,"said Sokel.
Sokel says he hopes one day he'll be able to save up enough to take the deer to a taxidermist, who can piece it back together so he can mount it on his wall