Texas Parks & Wildlife reports that a Denton County man pleaded no contest to illegally taking the deer, which scored 278 Boone & Crockett points, last October near Pilot Point, Texas.
Travis D. Johnson was sentenced to two years of probation and 40 hours community service, plus court costs. He also faces in excess of $53,000 in restitution fines from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and is prohibited from purchasing a hunting license for the duration of his deferred adjudication period.
Almost immediately after news of the huge buck broke on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, Texas game wardens became aware of rumors alleging Johnson may have harvested the buck after legal shooting hours the night before. Based on a photo being circulated online that showed Johnson posing with the field dressed deer during daylight hours, along with comments that he had taken it with a bow the previous evening, wardens had concerns about the care and disposition of the venison considering the warm temperatures. Hunters are required to keep the meat of harvested game in edible condition.
A Denton County game warden met with Johnson at his residence the afternoon of Oct. 8 to inspect the carcass, and was informed it had been discarded at a different location due to concerns about the meat possibly being infected.
The story fell apart from there, and the sad truth eventually came out. No way for such an amazing animal’s life to end.