A Sweetwater area man was arrested on a slew of illegal hunting charges after TWRA officers received word about his alleged activities.
TWRA Sgt. Kip Kite said on Oct. 27 he and other officers were told possibly illegal hunting was going on at Waymier Farm near Sweetwater and were given specific information, including license plate numbers and the names of at least one person who was doing it.
Kite said Oct. 26 was the start of the juvenile-only deer hunting weekend and a red Dodge pickup belonging to Koty Allen Daniel, not a juvenile, was reported parked at the gate leading to the farm.
The owner of the farm told Kite he heard gun shots in the area and later spoke to the person who returned to the truck.
The owner told Kite he returned to the fence the next day and found it had been torn down and it appeared someone had driven into the field to load an animal.
Kite said Daniel was located at the Co-op the next day, where he works, and reportedly told a TWRA officer two other people were hunting on the property and he was only fishing at the pond.
After further questioning, Daniel allegedly admitted he’d made that story up and said he had removed the fence to remove the buck, but said he’d put the fence back up before leaving.
Kite said there was evidence in Daniel’s truck, including deer hair, to show he had transported the animal.
Kite said Daniel was interviewed again on Nov. 12 and was given the opportunity to contact one of the men he’d been hunting with, but Kite said Daniel became evasive and said he usually used social media to contact the man.
Kite said Daniel stopped cooperating in the investigation and his cellphone was seized and several text messages were found that seemed to show he was hunting illegally.
Kite said they found the other man, identified as Austin Watson, and Watson reportedly said he and Daniel had been hunting with bolt action rifles and Daniel had shot a 7 or 8 point buck and returned later to retrieve the animal, taking down the fence and driving onto the property. Kite said neither man had permission to be there.
Daniel, 25, County Road 360, Sweetwater, was charged with tampering with evidence, vandalism under $1,000, hunting/possession of big game out of season, hunting without permission, refusing inspection of a water craft and two counts violation of rules, regulations and proclamation.
Watson, 23, County Road 271, Niota, was charged with vandalism under $1,000, hunting/possession of big game out of season, hunting without permission, violation of rules, regulations and proclamation and not having a hunting license.