California Man Who Poached Massive Blacktail Buck Gets Sentenced

A California man has learned his fate for poaching a massive blacktail deer in Sacramento County.

Blacktail Buck

The head of the blacktail buck that was shot and killed by Kautz. (Photo: CDFW)

John Frederick Kautz, of Lodi, will spend two days in jail, be placed on three years probation with a search and seizure clause, be banned from hunting during that three-year probationary stint and pay a $5,000 fine. The 51-year-old was also forced to surrender the poached deer head he had mounted.

The sentence was the result of a “no contest” plea deal. Kautz was facing misdemeanor charges for possession of an illegally poached deer and falsification of deer tag reporting information.

Kautz killed the buck in Dec. of 2016, two months after deer season ended. To avoid getting caught, he drove his trophy to a taxidermist in Nevada. He even had plans to enter it into the Safari Club International hunting record book.

SEE ALSO: African Trophy Hunter Dies, Crushed by Dead Elephant

Thankfully, though, Kautz plan for fame and glory was foiled. A responsible hunter submitted a tip to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Sept. of 2017. Officers looked at the information provided and then the hunt to catch the poacher was on.

From the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife News:

Wildlife Officers Sean Pirtle and Anthony Marrone spent an exhaustive three months on the investigation, collecting evidence that would prove the year-old incident was an act of poaching. Through extensive interviews, multiple search warrants and forensic analysis of computer records, and with the help of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Computer Crimes Unit, they slowly pieced together the puzzle. Then, collaborating with Nevada game wardens who conducted multiple follow-up interviews outside of California, they worked together in an attempt to track down the actual deer that had been mounted by the Nevada taxidermist.

Glad they got their guy. In a statement, David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Law Enforcement Division Chief, thanked the responsible hunter who outed Kautz. He also cited new legislation enacted in July of 2017 that allows authorities to slap poachers who target “trophy class” animals with heavy fines.

“We are also pleased how the newly effective legislation and regulations package helped increase the penalties in this case to hopefully deter others from the same poaching behavior,” said Bess. “A case like this is exactly why this package was enacted.”

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Vaughn Winslett October 3, 2018, 9:30 am

    This is exactly what the hunting show, infomercials, cause. Trophy, trophy, trophy. I kill game to eat. A trophy is nice but the meat is primary.

  • Bobs yer uncle January 2, 2018, 11:21 am

    First off, the guys rich and famous, everybody hates rich guys, they buy stuff, they employ people, they think they’er better than you or I, so when the law catches one and prosecutes them, thats a good thing it shows no ones above the law and it makes law enforcement look like they are doing something. He claimed the deer had a broken leg, was shot in a vineyard and was possibly damaging crops, just like farmers/ranchers shoot other predators. I would guess an animal of that size was in the last mouths of its life, their teeth wear out. Illegal weed growers on state and federal land regularly shoot animals eating their crops, but thats different isn’t it, those people are dangerous, when they arrest them its usually the swat team. Someone else pointed out you could kill a human on a pier with a gun in California without penalty. A classic perp walk that serves no one.

  • Silverbullet December 30, 2017, 10:29 pm

    I don’t know the laws in California but around here , farmers are allowed to cull deer doing damage in there fields. If they have the same type in communist California . The only thing he may have done really was being dumb trying to get in the record books. But I agree poachers do need to be caught , one lone deer is not the meaning of a real poacher in my book . It’s the guys killing bears for there gallbladder and claws and just leave the rest to rot. Or the guys killing a hundred ducks and more. But California needs income since the business is leaving in a mass exodus.
    Keep all the libtards and illegals in one state . We ‘ll just build a longer wall.

  • Ronald December 29, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Is this the John Kautz who owns Ironstone winery? If so I will never buy their wine!

    • christopher scallio December 29, 2017, 5:39 pm

      I am just amazed at the Statist whether on the Left or Right. Any resource found in Nature that is not owned by anyone is available to anyone who invests the labor of acquiring it. Especially if it is on your land or public land. No person State or Government owned that Free Deer. That is until someone invested the labor to acquire it. The accused California Man has only acted upon his Natural Right to his Life Liberty and Property under Natural Law recognized by Common Law which incidentally is acknowledged by 49 States Constitutions including California’s. Do I have the authority to tell you what you can or cannot possess and when? No! That would be usurpation. Can I delegate this power I do not possess to my Representative? No! Or perhaps you believe we Surrender certain Natural Rights when we institute a Civil Compact to Defend our Natural Rights? How ridiculous is that? OK then, Enumerate what Natural Rights I’ve surrendered? You can’t come up with one! Then what Document will I find these Surrendered Rights Enumerated in? Americans no longer know Liberty, as this article and the actions perpetrated by Natural Resource Police and California Courts demonstrate. Baaaaaaah!

      • christopher scallio December 29, 2017, 5:42 pm

        And another thing! Natural Resource Police have no interest in defending your Natural Right!

    • codenamedave December 29, 2017, 9:22 pm

      No, it’s the owner’s son, heavily involved in the family’s business amongst others. He shot the buck in one of their vineyards, there’s a Sac Bee online article about it. Guy probably spends $5,000 on lunch in a week.

  • Lem nash December 29, 2017, 12:11 pm

    Ca restricts ammo but gives this dirtbag no penalty for this act. Where is the balance?

    And Ca wonders why people are leaving the state?

  • Mike December 29, 2017, 11:59 am

    Wish the state of California spent as much time and tax payers money rounding up illegal aliens. Unfortunately that will never happen because the liberal democrats are going to use the illegal aliens as a replacement voting base for all the American citizens, tax payers who are fleeing Californias unfair tax system. Crooked California liberal politicians can’t seem to fill thier bottomless pockets , and moronic liberal voters seem to enjoy being screwed. The real shame is this poacher got a stiffer sentence than the 5 time deported, felon, illegal alien who killed a young woman walking down the pier in San Francisco with her family.

  • Jay December 29, 2017, 11:37 am

    I’m sure there are those who make light of poaching. Well it’s against the law, you break the law you are a criminal! No expense is to much to stop those who misuse and abuse the law! Poachers give all hunters who follow sportsman like conduct a bad name. This in turn follows any gun owner as a part of the scheme of things. If you’ve never seen how much damage poaching can do, you just haven’t been around long enough. I hear gun shots during bow season, shots fired at night and the early morning when it’s dark. When areas are heavily poached, many hunters miss opportunities they in many causes paid big bucks to hunt. No pun intended. I have seen records of some poachers being caught and to the tune of over 800 deer in a several year period. Poaching is a cowards and punks way to bag a deer! If you don’t like competition in the woods, go to a reserve and pay to hunt but stop taking game illegally and damaging the sport! A criminal act is still making you a criminal! He should’ve received more punishment to set an example for the rest of the poachers out there! Far to many so called sportsman get away with poaching and need to be caught!

    • Cyrus December 31, 2017, 5:13 pm

      Well put! I fucking hate everything there is about poachers.

    • Andrew N. December 8, 2018, 2:26 am

      I love some of the anti-Gov’t ranting. They never seem to realize that poaching endangers the SPECIES for future hunters and/or nature lovers. “It’s only ONE deer!” Yes it is, and if every hunter did the same thing with the same attitude, POOF!, no more deer. “Only ONE deer” adds up in a hurry when everyone cheats. As far as “Rights” go, your Rights extend only far enough to not infringe on mine, or someone else’s. Poaching infringes on MY Rights.

  • Tino December 29, 2017, 11:35 am

    3 months of a wardens time to get 2 days in jail, 3 years probation loss of hunting fishing rights and a $5000 fine????
    The state spent 10’s of thousands of dollars in time and resources maybe even hundreds of thousands, to stick a $5000 fine on a multimillionaire???
    What a waste…. either increase the fines exponentially or don’t bother wasting our limited wildlife resources.
    CA has the fewest DFG agents in the nation (per capital) and their time is too valuable to be wasted on investigations like this.

  • mb December 29, 2017, 10:47 am

    Poaching and hunting are two different things. Poaching is stealing and hunting is our privilege (controlled, just like driving a car). This guy should be stripped of all hunting capabilities, jailed for a while, be considered a felon just as any other thief.

    • MURPH December 30, 2017, 11:47 am

      MB, I agree with you.

  • Stevie December 29, 2017, 9:34 am

    Are you kiddin’ me?! They spend that kind of time and resources to track the deer and him down? Get your priorities in order CA, no wonder ya’ll are broke!!!

    • wyooil December 29, 2017, 11:22 am

      Are you saying we shouldn’t enforce the law? The lack of enforcement of common sense laws in California is one of the reasons why they have many of the problems they do. Think about it… in San Francisco, the “homeless” have the right to sleep inside a doorway of buisness. They then abuse that right to urinate/defecate on the doorway. The police refuse to do anything. SF also has a problem with car break-ins and porch theft. They have an non-enforcement rule of $1,000–that is, if the loss is less than $1,000, the police will not be bothered with the crime. Then the people in SF wonder why petty theft and car break-ins are rampant. Did you also know that over 1/3 of the inmates in California prisons were in the country illegally? Since California does not enforce federal immigration laws, the citizens of the state live with both the crime and the expense of incarceating illegals who commit felonies (in addition to the costs of education, health care, welfare to those criminal’s dependents).

      My point it, you have to enforce the law otherwise the primary and secondary costs will overwhelm the system.

  • Mike December 29, 2017, 8:58 am

    While poaching is certainly not behavior that is acceptable, spending several month investigating and serving warrants to catch a guy who killed a deer two months out of season seems like a misuse of taxpayer dollars. It seems like this time could have been spent working crimes with a greater impact to the community.

  • cato December 29, 2017, 8:31 am

    The King’s forest is off limits. You must buy the King’s permit and follow the King’s rules.
    Or, The Sheriff of Nottingham will hunt you down.

    • Alan December 29, 2017, 9:44 am

      In all 50 States of the Union, the wildlife are the property of the People of that State.
      The State Wildlife Departments are mostly peopled by good and educated professionals, carrying out the will of the People of those States to the benefit of the wildlife and the People, by LAW.
      As a hunter and conservationist, I’m grateful to be able to hunt these animals that would be poached out of existence if it weren’t for these dedicated professionals enforcing the People’s will.
      Your statement smacks of ignorance and disrespect, and almost sounds as though you side with the poacher.

      • robert December 29, 2017, 7:58 pm

        Alan, you are delusional. Every game warden I have ever tried to talk to has been rude, condescending, and act like you are taking too much of their valuable time. I have never poached. I will never poach. I think that those who do should lose their hunting privileges for life, if proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had the intent to poach when they got caught. I am not talking about inadvertently shooting eleven dove instead of ten. Or caught a fish that was one half inch shorter than it should be. For those who have done that, a fine would be in order and leave it at that. But lets get real, Cato has a point. Bureaucrats, for what ever reason or another, seem to forget who they work for, and it does not take them long doing it. I have seen game wardens do the stupidest crap you can imagine in hopes to catching someone doing something “wrong”.

        • Alan December 31, 2017, 10:11 am

          Go look up ‘delusional’ silly boy.
          Nothing I said is “delusional”, and just because you experience is different from mine cannot bear out your claim from a logical standpoint.
          Just like street cops, Game Wardens must follow the Law too.
          And apparently my point about ‘The People’ went right over your head.
          Don’t like the laws? Start a grass roots campaign and change them.
          And you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time following or dealing with Game wardens for your claims, so I call BS on your statements.
          Cato’s statement was horseshit, and without content or logic.
          I think you’re full of it, for backing it up.

        • Cam January 1, 2018, 11:17 am

          Yep, the possum cops are the lowest of the law enforcement community that suffer the biggest inferiority complex. I’ve never meet one that wasn’t a D**k. They make park rangers look like the seal. In two different state that I hunt and trap in I’ve called the state offices to seek clarification of rules and regulations they won’t give you a clarification. It either they don’t want to commit to an answer or want the regulations to not be clear hoping to catch you up or have more discretion to entrap you.

  • luke December 29, 2017, 6:31 am

    Sorry. I gotta’ say it: black tail lives matter.

    • Einaar December 29, 2017, 8:44 am

      I suspect, In more ways than one,,,

      • Arm December 29, 2017, 11:15 am

        “Pants Up Don’t Loot”…

    • R.D. JOHNSON December 29, 2017, 2:59 pm


    • Larry December 29, 2017, 3:52 pm

      I just pee’d my pants!

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