Another social media personality has fallen to the pressure to produce. A growing number of western hunters have followed the brand, Muley Freak, a western hunting gear and apparel brand specializing in mule deer.
Unfortunately for the Muley Freak crew’s reputation, one of the team’s key players, Erik Van Woerkom, has been charged with one misdemeanor trespassing charge and one felony possession of a trophy mule deer.
The charges come from a hunt that took place in October of 2022 where Woerkom killed a 161 inch mule deer on private property he allegedly did not have permission to hunt. The charges could result in up to $50,000 in fines and 5 years in prison, plus a lifetime hunting ban.
Check out the clip below from this week’s episode of The Pinch Point for an explanation from Justin Zarr on everything that went down:
On Oct. 12, 2022, 36-year-old Woerkom received citations for trespassing to hunt a mule deer buck on private ground in Idaho, as well as another charge of possession of that animal.
The charges were initially marked as misdemeanors, but things would soon change after further review of the case. The citations issued by Idaho Fish and Game officials included a note that said, “To wit: trophy mule deer buck.”
The kicker came when Woerkom’s mule deer measured 11 inches over the 150-inch Idaho trophy limit for mule deer bucks. And if you didn’t know, states like Idaho place a higher value on their trophy bucks as well as the consequences for illegally taking one. The size of Woerkom’s buck led prosecutors to change the misdemeanor possession charge to a felony, keeping in line with the state’s stiffer penalties for possession of a trophy animal.
In November, Idaho prosecutors presented an amended case: the misdemeanor trespassing charge, as well as the escalated felony charge, for unlawful possession of a trophy mule deer.
As mentioned above, the outcome of Woerkom’s crime could be substantial if proven guilty, particularly considering his actions are viewed as a crime against the people of the state of Idaho.
Be sure to check back for more information on this story as it develops in the weeks ahead.