Utah GOP Rep. Travis Seegmiller is under fire from residents in his community who say he shot a baby deer as it was walking through the yard of a private residence and then lied about it.
A resident speaking to Cedar City News says he confronted Seegmiller, who told him he shot the deer because he was unemployed and needed meat for his family. When the resident, who wanted to be identified only as "Sean," asked Seegmiller why he went on private property to collect the carcass, he claimed he got permission from the property owner beforehand.
But according to the property owner, Dr. Kelly Reber, Seegmiller did not have permission.
"Reber said he had never met the man before and told him that he could not shoot any deer in his yard," the Cedar City News reports. "Seegmiller then allegedly told Reber he had actually shot the deer in the yard across the street, but the animal ran into Reber's yard and he was just retrieving it from the property. Reber said the area where the deer was shot is clearly marked with several 'no hunting' signs."
After Reber asked Seegmiller how shooting the deer could be legal when it's out of season, Reber said Seegmiller showed him two depredation tags which he said gave him permission. Reber then asked why Seegmiller was shooting in a residential neighborhood, to which Seegmiller replied by referring to his hunting map, saying he thought he was "out in the country." He also claimed at he was new to hunting and didn't "know all the rules."
But as Reber points out, there's no way Seegmiller could have thought he was out in the country since the area he was in was heavily developed.
When residents later called police on the matter, Seegmiller reportedly left the area by the time police arrived.
According to the Cedar City News, when the St. George News reached out to Seegmiller for comment, he replied: "I prefer not to speak with you about this matter."
The Salt Lake Tribune also reached out to Seegmiller, but received no response. "Something very strange is happening with Rep. Travis Seegmiller," the newspaper wrote.