Spring Branch man arrested for poaching exotic game in Wimberley

By Samantha Smith

The Hays County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man March 15 after he lied to authorities about illegally darting an antelope inside a gated subdivision in Wimberley.

Authorities arrested Jared Grady Offtermatt, 26, of Spring Branch, on four charges including Hunting/Possession of an Exotic animal, which is a Class A misdemeanor, and giving a false report to a peace officer, which is a Class B misdemeanor. He was booked into the Hays County Jail and released on March 15 on $8,000 bond. 

According to an arrest affidavit, authorities were called in the early morning hours March 7, 2015 for a black buck antelope that was darted in the Las Lornas gated subdivision in Wimberley. 

The black buck antelope belonged to the Las Lornas Home Owners Association and was valued at $1,700 to $2,000.

A deputy who was on scene recovered a Pneu-Dart tranquilizer dart with an attached transmitter containing a serial number. The deputy sent the dart for forensic analysis, while tracking the company that sold the dart, which verified Offtermatt had purchased transmitters in October 2014. 

The deputy interviewed Offtermatt, who denied darting the antelope, but said he owned the darts and they were stolen from his truck. 

According to the affidavit, Offtermatt did not file a report for the theft, but said he ordered replacement darts on Feb. 27, 2015. 

The deputy checked with the company, which found Offtermatt reported the transmitters stolen and placed a replacement order under a different name on March 10, 2015. 

Offtermatt then produced a written statement he was at his father-in-law’s house in Fowlerton, Texas from  March 6-8, 2015. His father-in-law, Mike Ottea, and his fiancée, Kristen Ottea, both gave written statements that Offtermatt was in Folwerton. 

But during the deputy’s investigation, he accessed the GPS records of Offtermatt’s cell phone and tracked the position to nearby cell towers within the radius of where the antelope was darted. 

On Aug. 20, 2015, lab results showed the dart had trace amounts of Telazol, which is listed as a Schedule III drug. 

Offtermatt recanted his statement, saying he took his father-in-law’s dart gun without permission to dart a Black Buck Antelope, which ran off when he shot it just inside of the gate.  

Since Offtermatt darted the animal but did not collect the kill, he is being charged with Criminal Attempt for not completely carrying out the act, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

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