It was an elaborate scheme to cover up an illegal deer kill, but a quick-thinking and sharp-witted New Hampshire Fish & Game conservation officer who wasn’t afraid to get his hands a little dirty got to the bottom of the case.

In the final analysis, all it really took was some guts.

Well, a gut-pile, actually. And a mysteriously disappearing and reappearing one, to be precise.FGlogoC2-NEW-F

The case began Nov. 8 when officer William Boudreau was called by a landowner who reported hearing shots and finding deer entrails in an area closed to hunting.

The Portsmouth (NH) Herald reports that Boudreau quickly determined that the remains came from a female whitetail, while the marks on the ground indicated the deer had been dragged to a nearby gravel pit owned by the University of New Hampshire, where it was placed into a vehicle.

Boudreau’s investigation then took him to local deer check stations, where he discovered that no doe deer had been registered that day.

The CO’s detective work next led to UNH public works supervisor David Howard, one of the few persons who had access to the locked gravel facility. Howard told the officer he had killed a doe on Nov. 8, but in a different township than the area near the gravel pit.

That’s when CO Boudreau morphed into a conservation super sleuth and began to lay his trap.

He returned to the site of the illegal kill, located the gutpile, and placed his Game and Fish Department business card (with the time and date hand-written on the back) inside the deer’s stomach. Boudreau then phoned Howard and requested that he (Howard) take him to the location of his Nov. 8 kill the following morning. Howard agreed.

On the next day, when the two drove to the site where Howard claimed to have shot and field-dressed his doe, sure enough, there was a gutpile. And the deer stomach containing Boudreau’s business card? It was there, too.

In the end, Boudreau’s hunch that Howard would move the doe’s remains played out like something from a crime novel or a television script.

Kind of a CSI: Gutpile.

According to the newspaper, court records indicate that Howard has presented the fish and game department with a written confession and has admitted to hunting on posted property. He is scheduled to be arraigned next week in Portsmouth District Court.