Social Media Helps Officers Locate Trophy Buck Stolen from Teen

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The deer's head and cape were eventually returned to the 15-year-old boy

A thief stole a 15-year-old boy’s buck of a lifetime just minutes after the deer was shot.

According to Chanel 3000, Garrett Diehm shot the big deer in Columbia County, Wisconsin, on opening weekend of the nine-day gun deer hunting season.

Diehm’s mother, Sarah, said when her son and family ran back to the house to let his grandparents know, someone took the buck.  

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Garrett Diehm said, “We went up, took a bunch of pictures with it, went up to my grandparents’ house to get a wagon and supplies to field dress it, my mom used the bathroom, we came back, and the buck was gone.”

“I was just amazed and really mad. I did not think that would happen to us back on our own property way back in the woods where there’s like nobody back there,” he added.

His mother turned to Facebook for help. She shared photos of the buck in a post about what happened. That post was shared more than 5,000 times and tips started coming in.

Fortunately, the deer’s skin and head were returned to the boy, but the thief had already taken it to a meat processor. Diehm says although he expects to eventually get the meat from the deer as well, the theft robbed him of part of the hunting experience.

Paul Nadolski, the DNR warden investigating the incident, said the deer was no doubt a trophy buck.

“As far as I’m concerned, it would be considered the deer of a lifetime,” said Nadolski. “I’ve hunted a lot of years and I’ve never had an opportunity to see a deer that nice.”

Nadolski said social media tips — combined with old-fashioned police work — solved the case of the missing buck.

The warden is reminding people to keep an eye on anything valuable, such as their hunting gear and game.

“Don’t leave anything of value out where people can see it,” said Nadolski. “There are people in this world that are just that way. They are going to come and try to take it.”

Once the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the DNR complete their investigations, they’re going to send evidence off to the DA’s office, where charges will follow.

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