By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Kansas and Nebraska wildlife officials are cooperating on a deer-poaching case that could result in charges being filed against three Fort Hays State University students.

The students are not being identified until charges are filed.

The investigation into the case is still ongoing, said Capt. Mel Madorin, regional law enforcement supervisor for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

In fact, KDWP investigator Mike Hammerschmidt was en route to Nebraska on Tuesday to seize a deer mount that had been hanging in the residence of one of the suspects in the case.

Nebraska Game and Parks alerted Madorin to the possibility of problems when it learned that a taxidermist had found bullet fragments in a deer head that came from Kansas, even though only the state's archery season was under way.

Madorin said his agency had already been looking into the possibility that a deer had been poached last year, and they expect to compare the mounted animal with video of a deer seen last year.

Madorin said they are looking into the possibility of as many as five instances of deer poaching. All of the animals were white-tailed deer.

At least one of the animals came from northern Ellis County, near the Saline River. He was unsure what part of the county the remaining deer came from.

In the course of the investigation, KDWP executed two search warrants in Hays.

KDWP seized deer, permits, five guns, archery equipment, phones, a computer and a video camcorder.

Madorin said he was unsure exactly what charges will be filed, but expects the charges to include taking deer out of season, permit fraud and other license violations. The fines could be increased because the deer involved are considered trophy-size deer -- 17 inches between the antlers.