Deer Skulls & Mountain Lions: GR Area Game & Fish Law Enforcement Report

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GREEN RIVER REGION — The Green River Region has 11 law enforcement officers, including seven district game wardens, two regional game wardens, one access coordinator, and one regional wildlife supervisor.

The Green River Region covers southwest and south central Wyoming and includes the Baggs, Rock Springs, Green River, Mountain View, Evanston, Kemmerer and Cokeville warden districts.

The two regional game wardens focused on watercraft enforcement from May through Labor Day Weekend. They also worked hunting seasons through the remainder of the year. One of the regional wardens was transferred to the Jackson Region in mid-November.
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Warden Kim Olson and other members of law enforcement at the firearms qualifications.

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2016 Law Enforcement Efforts

In the Green River Region:

  • Officers documented 646 violations within the region in 2016.
  • Officers issued 268 citations and 355 written warnings.
  • Officers investigated 23 cases in which a suspect was never developed.
  • There was increased watercraft and fishing enforcement on Flaming Gorge Reservoir as a result of having two regional wardens specifically assigned to work the reservoir.
  • Other areas of focus included illegal shed antler collection and a task force in Baggs targeting a group of archery deer hunters that have been reportedly party hunting and taking deer from the highway in past years.
  • One task force using out-of-region officers was conducted in the Green River Region in 2016. The task force was designed to address problems of deer being illegally taken from roadways with archery equipment in Deer Hunt Area 82 near Baggs. Two visiting officers were assigned to the area during the first half of September to assist regional personnel in documenting violations. Operations were focused in areas with high densities of deer along roadways and in areas where shooting from the road violations have been documented in the past. During the task force, 15 contacts were made with hunters that were suspected of attempting to take wildlife from a roadway, and one citation was issued for accessory to taking wildlife from a roadway. Although the number of violations documented was low, the task force was still deemed highly successful due to the number of educational contacts made with hunters regarding taking wildlife from a public roadway.
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Warden Rob Shipe helps a young angler land a trout.

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Statistics


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Notable Cases:

The Moving Deer Skull

On April 16, a marked deer skull north of Evanston was tracked to a location in Evanston by Game Wardens Allen Deru and Chris Baird. The wardens contacted two men and asked them about the skull.

The men told the wardens that they had picked up a deer skull with the antlers still attached. Both suspects were informed that they had picked up and transported the deer head without first acquiring an IGT, which is a violation of the law.

The two men had also picked up the head in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) winter range closure area.

Warden Deru issued them both citations for transporting game without a game tag within Wyoming and notified them that they would also be contacted by a BLM law enforcement officer concerning the BLM winter range closure violation.
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Illegally picked up deer head in possession of suspects.

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Taking Deer on Private Property

On October 8, a trespassing incident occurred just north of the town of Baggs along Muddy Creek.

Two hunters watched as a man and his two sons shot a rather large buck deer on private property. They obtained photos of the back of the truck with both the license plate and the deer. The report was received by Baggs Game Warden Kim Olson.

Warden Olson searched for several hours to find the carcass and verify that the deer had been killed on private land. By this time, the suspects were on their way back to Utah.

Warden Olson was able to contact a conservation officer with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources and told him about the case and the suspects’ address. As the Utah officer pulled into the yard, the suspects were just unloading the back of the truck and admitted to the trespassing violation.

The animal was seized and the shooter was fined $420 for trespassing. This case is a great example of cooperation between agencies in two states and perfect timing in catching up with the violators.
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Multiple Big Game Violations

On October 4, Evanston Game Warden Nick Roberts was investigating a report of two men observed shooting at a deer from a public highway, not wearing hunter
orange and most likely trespassing.

The reporting party had taken a picture of the truck and license plate, which was out of Utah. Warden Roberts was able to locate a gut pile from a deer on private property and ran the plates to identify a suspect.

While still at that location, Warden Roberts received a call from a landowner just a few miles away who stated that he had found two fresh gut piles and an abandoned fawn antelope on his property. Warden Roberts investigated the scene and was able to find a spent .30-06 rifle casing.

The landowner stated he had not given anyone permission to hunt on his property but had contacted a group of hunters two days prior who were staying in a cabin nearby. One hunter remained at the cabin and revealed that the cabin belonged to the suspect identified in the earlier complaint. Through a series of interviews with the hunting party, Warden Roberts was able to piece together the two incidents and identify multiple violations out of this same hunting party.

The suspect from the original poaching report was cited for shooting from the road, given a warning for trespassing and forfeited the antlers from his deer. He paid a $220 fine.

The second incident involved a husband and wife out of Ogden, Utah. They had two doe/fawn antelope licenses but ended up shooting two does and one fawn. They shot the animals on private property without permission and left the fawn to go to waste.

Both were cited for trespassing and waste of the fawn. The husband was also cited for taking an over-limit of antelope. The investigation revealed that hunting party members consumed large amounts of alcohol and showed little respect for game laws.

The husband was fined $530 and had his hunting privileges suspended for one year. The charges against his wife were dismissed.
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Spent .30-06 shell casing found as evidence during investigation of multiple big game violations.

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Multiple Residency Violations

In October of 2014, regional Access Coordinator Andy Countryman contacted an individual hunting elk on a resident general elk license on the Red Dugway Road in Uinta County.

The man stated he lived in Lyman, Wyoming. However, during Countryman’s contact with the man, several concerns led him to investigate further into the man’s residency status. Countryman later confirmed that the man had been residing in Washington, Utah, with his wife and at least one child while making false statements to obtain Wyoming resident hunting and fishing licenses from 2011-2015.

Twenty false statement violations were detected. Utah and Florida both verified the suspect had purchased resident hunting and fishing licenses in their states during those same years.

The case was finalized on December 8. The suspect pled guilty to five counts of false swearing to obtain resident Wyoming hunting/fishing licenses from the years 2011-2015.

The Uinta County court sentenced the man to pay $10,880 in fines and restitution and to serve five consecutive days in the Uinta County Detention Center. Also, all of his hunting and fishing license privileges suspended for 10 years and he will be entered into the wildlife violator compact agreement of at least 44 states.
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Illegal Mountain Lion

On September 27, Green River Game Warden Andy Roosa received a call from Wildlife Biologist Patrick Burke stating that he had checked in a mountain lion that may have been killed prior to the hunter purchasing a mountain lion license.

Warden Roosa conducted interviews with the suspect who registered the mountain lion, as well as his father who was hunting with him at the time the lion was harvested. The son had purchased the mountain lion license at 4:37 p.m. on September 26 in Green River and swore on the mountain lion harvest form that he legally harvested the lion with a bow at approximately 10:00 a.m. on September 27 northwest of Kemmerer.

During more than two hours of interviews, it was revealed that the father had shot the mountain lion on September 25 and that neither of the suspects had a mountain lion license at the time.

The father maintained that the lion was sneaking up on him while he was calling for elk in the trees and that he shot it with his bow out of self-defense. He said he had to go to work on Monday and wouldn’t be able to check in the mountain lion himself, so he asked his son to buy the license and tag the lion.

Warden Roosa issued the father a citation for taking a mountain lion without a license and issued the son a citation for accessory after the fact to taking a mountain lion without a license, along with a citation for making a false statement on a mountain lion registration form.

Both suspects pleaded guilty to all charges and were sentenced to pay a fine of $790 each and had all their hunting and fishing license privileges suspended until the end of 2017. The son also paid a fine of $220 on the charge of making a false statement on a mountain lion registration form.