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Hunter accused of stealing six deer heads out of processor cooler in Verdigris

ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. - A hunter is accused of stealing six deer heads out of a processor's cooler the day after Thanksgiving.

One of the victims, Tom Hunt, had been hunting that morning when he shot a 10-point buck.

"It was quite exciting," Hunt said. "Biggest thing I had ever shot."

He took it to Walke Brothers in Verdigris to be processed and left it in the cooler that's left open on holidays and after hours for hunters.

"Kind of an honor system," Hunt said.

But later that day when the processor owner, John Walke, went to get the carcasses, something wasn't right.

"Two on the very top of the pile were reasonably decent-sized bucks and didn't have any heads on them," he said. They also didn't have any information attached, so he butchered them and assumed the owners would eventually come to pick them up.

Hunt and the other hunter did return for the deer, but when they saw the heads were missing and deduced they hadn't been taken by a taxidermist, they realized the heads had been stolen.

"It doesn't matter if it's a world record deer or if it's a small one," Walke said. "It's someone else's property and absolutely means the world to those people."

Walke went back to look at surveillance video, and with game warden Lt. Brek Henry, they discovered the suspect was a man Hunt ran into when he was dropping off his deer that day.

"Jokingly asking if I wanted to trade," Hunt said. "Didn't seem criminal at the time."

Lt. Brek went to speak to the suspect and discovered six heads had allegedly been taken and boiled down.

"When he dropped his own deer off, he got both of the heads off of the two on top of the pile, and then snatched four more that were in the cooler," Walke said.

Now, the suspect could face charges ranging from unlawful possession of wildlife to felony theft.

"You think there's honor among hunters and obviously this one's not honorable," Hunt said.