Charges filed against Southern Utah state Rep. Travis Seegmiller for alleged poaching incident

File photo of a deer carcass visible beneath a GMC Yukon SUV as state Rep. Travis Seegmiller, left, speaks with Dr. Kelly Reber, a property owner in rural Washington County, Utah, Aug. 13, 2021 | Submitted photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Misdemeanor charges have been filed against a Southern Utah state representative accused of shooting a doe as it was walking through the yard of a private residence.

File photo of a deer carcass visible beneath a GMC Yukon SUV as Utah state Rep. Travis Seegmiller, left, speaks with Dr. Kelly Reber, a property owner in rural Washington County, Utah, Aug. 13, 2021 | Submitted photo, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

On Thursday, the Millard County Attorney’s Office filed three misdemeanor charges against Rep. Travis Seegmiller, a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, including one count each of take-transfer-sell-purchase protected wildlife, discharge of a firearm without permission and within 600 feet of a dwelling and discharge of a firearm from a vehicle.

The charges were filed in connection with an incident reported Aug. 13, when the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Division of Wildlife Resources were dispatched to the Blackridge Ranches development off Old Highway 91 near New Harmony to follow up on a report involving allegations that a doe was shot on private property and out of season.

The incident reportedly took place near the corner of 2500 South and 2900 East, where residents said the doe was shot on private property and then crossed the roadway, where it died on a second resident’s gated property. The investigation was then turned over to the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Faith Jolley, spokesperson for the Division of Wildlife Resources, told St. George News the charges were submitted for review once investigators determined that Seegmiller allegedly fired a shotgun on private property within 600 feet of the home without written permission from the homeowner.

Seegmiller also reportedly fired the shotgun from the roadway while sitting in a vehicle, Jolley said, and then entered a second property to retrieve the animal without obtaining the required authorization from the homeowner.

Jolley also said the doe in question was seized as part of the investigation and later donated to a needy family.

Rep. Travis Seegmiller, R-St. George, photo location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah Legislature, St. George News

Investigators then submitted the findings and potential charges to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review. But Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke said their office was unable to take the case due to a conflict of interest. So instead, the file was sent to the Garfield County Attorney’s Office for review.

But Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington said their office would also be unable to take the case due to a conflict of interest. The file was then sent to Millard County.

A call to the Millard County Attorney’s Office last week confirmed the case would be handled by prosecutors in Fillmore, and on Thursday, the charges were filed in Millard County Justice Court.

A court date has yet to be scheduled in the case.

St. George News left messages by phone and email requesting a comment from Seegmiller, both of which had yet to be answered at the time of this report.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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