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Joe Frater and Chris Stone were on their way to social media stardom in the elite world of trophy deer hunting.
The two law enforcement officers — Frater is a corrections officer at a local prison; Stone is an investigator for the Amador County district attorney — regularly showed off their trophies from just a few years of hunting with bows and arrows in the Sierra foothills of Northern California.
They posed with impressive, mature bucks that they somehow managed to pull from a place known mostly for its scrawny deer with tiny racks. The men appeared on hunting websites, podcasts and YouTube videos, and they had sponsorships with companies that sell hunting equipment.
Along the way, California wildlife officers were beginning to grow skeptical of the steady feed of social media posts featuring Frater and Stone. Most of their kills looked like the bruisers that celebrity hunters brag about on hunting shows — that is, extraordinary.
What unfolded next over five months in 2019 could be an episode of “CSI,” as wardens undertook a complex operation with covert stakeouts, DNA evidence, aerial surveillance and vehicle tracking devices — tactics that the men’s attorneys say went too far in upholding California’s stringent and complex hunting rules.
FULL STORY: https://www.sacbee.com/news/investigati ... 41186.html
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