University of New Hampshire public works supervisor David Howard shot and killed a deer on posted property in Lee, hauled it away from a UNH gravel pit, lied about the kill on a registration form in Greenland, then moved the deer’s "gut pile" to Stratham in an attempt to avoid prosecution, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
A business card placed in the belly of the gut pile by Fish and Game Officer William Boudreau unraveled the scheme, leading to Howard’s arrest on a Class B misdemeanor count of making a false report to the state Fish and Game Department, according to court records. That charge will be prosecuted in Portsmouth District Court, while violation-level charges of trespassing and improper tagging will be heard in Durham District Court, according to Conservation Officer Lt. John Wimsatt.
An investigation began Nov. 8 when a Lee property owner reported hearing a gun shot at 7 a.m., then later finding "gut pile remains" of a deer in the Maud Jones Memorial Forest, according to an affidavit by Boudreau. From the gut pile, the Fish and Game officer found drag marks leading to a locked UNH-owned gravel pit that is surrounded by the Maud Jones Forest, Boudreau reported.
An udder and reproductive organs in the gut pile led to the determination that the remains came from a female whitetail deer, said Boudreau, while the drag marks showed the gutted animal had been placed into a vehicle in the university-owned gravel pit.
Noting hunters are required to register kills within 24 hours at the closest open registration station, Boudreau’s investigation took him to stations in the Lee area, where he found no female whitetail deer registered, he said.
According to court documents, Boudreau and Wimsatt later met Howard at a UNH facilities building, where Howard reported having a key to the gravel pit gate and that he’d killed two deer that fall, one in Durham and another in Greenland. A registration form filed and signed by Howard at Greenland’s Suds N Soda on Nov. 8 stated he killed a deer in that town, but when asked later by Boudreau where he shot the deer, Howard was unable to find the location on a map, Boudreau reported.
On Nov. 12, Boudreau called Howard and arranged a meeting at the "kill site," which Howard then said was in Newfields. After the meeting was scheduled, Boudreau went back to the Lee forest, found the gut pile and put his business card — with the date and time written on the back — into the deer’s stomach, according to Fish and Game.
The following afternoon, Boudreau met Howard at the Newfields location where he said he shot the deer, but Howard then reported it was a spot in Stratham. The pair drove to that location, where the officer was led into some woods off Chisholm Farm Road and Howard pointed to a gut pile he said he left after killing the deer on Nov. 8, according to court records.
Boudreau then cut open the stomach and found the business card he placed there when it was in the Lee forest on Nov. 12.
"At this time, Howard handed CO Boudreau a typed confession that he had typed up that morning," according to court records. "Howard also admitted to hunting on the posted property."
Wimsatt said Thursday that "the case had a lot of twists," but it is not uncommon for a hunter under investigation to create "a mock kill site." The conservation officer described the plan to place the business card in the deer belly was "taking a chance on the off-chance" that Howard would move it.
Howard is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 8 in Portsmouth District Court.
UNH spokewoman Erika Mantz declined to say whether the charges would affect Howard’s employment, noting " personnel records are confidential."
This article first appeared at seacoastonline.com.