Man Reunited With Antlers After Prized Buck Stolen From Truck. Culprits Ordered To Pay “Big Bucks” For Boosting Deer.

Posted on February 7, 2013


“Big bucks,” get it?  *sigh…*

Wisconsin (The Gaslamp Post) – There’s very few things in life that beat scoring that trophy that you strived for.  When you finally hit that brass ring and you realize that all your hard work paid off, one can’t help but take a moment and admire it.

Many times we rush on out and show it off, that is after all human nature.  Unfortunately, sometimes some jerk just has to come along and steals your thunder.


After one man spent years in the field hunting deer, last November he finally bagged his big one.  It was a 175 pound, 8-point whitetail buck, with a spread of about 19 1/2 inches.

The man, Mr. Kelly Sokel of Menasha was understandably proud of his accomplishment, so he drove it in the back of his truck to his local bar for a beer and to show it off.  While at the bar he had exchanged words with some women and then went about his business.

Kelly Sokel shows off the 19 1/2 inch rack from his stolen deer Wednesday at his home in Menasha. Sokel killed the deer Nov. 21, 2012 in Appleton. It was an 8-point buck that was 175 pounds field dressed. It was stolen out of the back of his truck while he celebrated his trophy deer at Hank's Tavern.

Mr. Kelly Sokel showing off the 19 1/2″ rack from the deer which was stolen from him. Image Wisconsin Outdoor Fun.

Shortly after that another man had told Sokel that his deer was gone.

“Somebody at the bar told me my deer was gone, and I thought he was joking,” Sokel said about that night at Hank’s Tavern. “My heart dropped when I went to look and sure enough.”

Local police referred him to the Wisconsin State Depart of Natural Resources who took over the investigation.  The deer did eventually turn up months later in a river but badly decomposed.

As it turns out, the two women with whom Mr. Sokel had exchanged words had thought it would be amusing to take Mr. Sokel’s deer from his truck and run it over.  According to Wisconsin Outdoor Fun, the two women wrestled the dead carcass out from the back of Sokel’s truck, dragged it onto the parking lot pavement, and then ran it over with their car.

After they drove away quite pleased with themselves, they soon realized that something was wrong.  The deer’s rack (antlers) had caught on the underside of their car and they had ended up dragging it with them.

According to DNR Warden Ray Propson, this is the most “bizarre capers” he has had to deal with in his career.

“The deer got caught underneath the car, half the rack broke and they drove down the road dragging it until they realized something wasn’t right.”

After obtaining help from a friend of theirs, they were able to get the deer carcass unstuck from underneath the car and then threw it in the river.  Soon after that DNR caught up with the women, and then found out about the third accomplice.

“It seemed way too far-fetched,” Propson said. “But after a while all the puzzle pieces came together and unfortunately the hunter will be out the meat.”

Those involved in stealing Sokel’s deer were cited last month for their roles in the caper.  They were given the stiffest fine available for stealing dead animal.

Cristi Sturgis and Stacy Gengler, both 35 and also from Menasha were reportedly charged with larceny of wild game and fined $2152.50 each.  Their accomplice, Matthew Long, 27, was charged for dumping the deer on public property and fined $263.50.

“It was not very pretty, I’ll tell you that,” Sokel said. “After being in the river for two months, it was pretty heavy. We tried to drag it up an embankment and finally got the horns off.”

“It’s a fair punishment, but there’s nothing in it for me,” Sokel said. “I woke up the day after the incident very disappointed because we were all looking forward to sharing the meat from the first deer of the year.”

According to WITI-TV, Sokel had never met the women before that night.

“That’s what I’m left with, a pile of bones. It’s very disappointing.  I’m out all the time, the effort,” Sokel said.

But the disappointment hasn’t hurt Sokel’s love of hunting.

“The memories are still great and believe it or not, it’s probably the best deer story I have,” Sokel said.

One day after he had left the antlers in his back yard to dry out, he returned home from work to find them again missing.  Luckily, this time it was his neighbor’s dog who was the culprit.