Rock Springs, Wyoming Poaching Incident

WyoDoug

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I am not symphatetic to poachers at all, other than I tend to be lenient toward someone who is shooting game because they need the meat. My family never had a lot of money when I was growing up, so I tend to look the other way when someone is hunting for the meat, but when I see poaching because of the trophy rack, it makes me sick and angry. Below is a cut and paste from the Wyoming Game and Fish news release.
......​

Thanks to concerned sportsmen and women a tip on the STOP Poaching Hotline solves area poaching cases.
GREEN RIVER -
Rock Springs resident Christian J. Cosby will pay over $5,000 in fines and have his hunting and fishing privileges suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to the intentional illegal taking of a bull elk in 2017 and taking a mountain lion with an illegal caliber firearm in 2018.

In the fall of 2017, Green River Region Game and Fish enforcement personnel received multiple tips suggesting Cosby had illegally killed a large bull elk in an area he did not have a license for and had entered the bull in a local contest.

Green River Wildlife Investigator Jim Gregory (retired) and Rock Springs Game Warden Andy Roosa initiated an investigation and discovered Cosby had an elk license valid for Elk Hunt Area 93, north of Pinedale, and had entered a large bull elk in the Radio Network Big Bull Contest. The antlers of the bull Cosby entered in the contest matched those of a large bull multiple people had photographed on Aspen Mountain, in Elk Hunt Area 30, south of Rock Springs in September 2017.

During an initial interview Cosby claimed to have killed the bull with a bow in Elk Hunt Area 93 on the evening of September 27 and packed it out to his truck on September 28. Cosby’s cell phone records, however, showed that he had been in the vicinity of Aspen Mountain south of Rock Springs on the 27th and 28th and had not been in area 93 as he stated.

During the course of the investigation multiple additional wildlife violations committed by Cosby were discovered, including taking a mountain lion with an illegal caliber rifle on February 23, 2018.
After further questioning, Cosby confessed to knowingly killing the elk in an area he did not have a license for and provided video of himself shooting the bull multiple times with a compound bow.

Cosby was charged with intentional illegal take of an antlered big game animal, using an illegal caliber firearm to take trophy game, failure to wear fluorescent orange clothing while hunting trophy game and using artificial light to take wildlife. The elk antlers, a compound bow, and arrows used in the commission of the crime were seized as evidence.

“Photos and information provided by concerned citizens who came forward were key to the investigation,” said Rock Springs Game Warden Andy Roosa.”The elk herd south of Rock Springs is prized by locals and is one of the most difficult hunt areas in Wyoming to draw a Type 1 Limited Quota License (any elk). The attention paid to this elk herd paid-off by providing photographic evidence, which lead to a successful conviction in this case.”

On Jan. 10, 2019, Cosby pleaded guilty to intentional illegal take of antlered big game and taking a trophy game animal with an illegal caliber firearm and was ordered to pay a fine of $5,055. The compound bow used during the commission of his crime was forfeited and his privileges to hunt and fish in Wyoming and 46 other Wildlife Violator Compact member states was suspended until Jan. 10, 2021.

Anyone with information on a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). Tips may be reported online at wgfd.wyo.gov, directly to the local game warden, or by calling the Green River Game and Fish Office at-1-307-875-3223. Poaching information may also be texted; text keyword WGFD a message toTIP411 (847-411).


- WGFD -
 

bobbydean

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I hope he goes to jail, but will get the light $5000 fine.

If hunting for food, I am lenient as well. I would not report.

Trophy poaching should have minimum of $50000 and 2 years at least in jail!
 

WyoDoug

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At minimum, he lost his bow and hunting and fishing privileges for at least 2 years plus a $5000 fine. That to me is a slap on the wrist. Poaching should at a minimum result in 5 years loss of hunting and fishing privileges plus a minimum $10,000 fine. Too many people know the penalties yet are willing to take the risk poaching.
 

shoots-straight

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I hope he goes to jail, but will get the light $5000 fine.

If hunting for food, I am lenient as well. I would not report.

Trophy poaching should have minimum of $50000 and 2 years at least in jail!
Just an FYI,

There is no justification in today's world for any poaching. There are many places to go and receive meat. Hunters for the hungry program gives out a lot of donated meat that other sportsman don't want. Back in the day there was no place or surplus meat taken. Today there's donations for all kinds of things that can feed you and your family with.
 

WyoDoug

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Just an FYI,

There is no justification in today's world for any poaching. There are many places to go and receive meat. Hunters for the hungry program gives out a lot of donated meat that other sportsman don't want. Back in the day there was no place or surplus meat taken. Today there's donations for all kinds of things that can feed you and your family with.
I am going to respectfully disagree. Donations of food are insufficient to meet the needs of people who can't afford even basic staples. That unfortunately is a dangerous assumption. When I was young, my family did receive food stamps but they were insufficient to buy enough meat to feed the family for the entire period they were issued for. We were also farmhands and though we got meat once a year from the farm, it never lasted until the next harvest. That problem exists even in this country today.

Malnutrition and hunger still exists in this country, especially in the deep south and in some portions of Texas. I personally have met families that had not eaten in days and bought food for them, but that is insufficient to meet even the basic needs of nutrition.
 

elkduds

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Likely the animals this jackwagon poached were transported on atv or motor vehicle he owned. Those should be confiscated, sold, $ given to enforcement efforts against poaching. Poachers' sentences need to include meaningful wildlife-related community service, every weekend for 6 months @ the low end. Jail time, definitely.

Curious how many other violations were dismissed, to convince this crook to plead guilty to the charges in the article. Likely there were several other charges.

Why do people even mention poaching for food, in cases like this where that clearly has no bearing? Videoing your subsistence poaching, really?
 

shoots-straight

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That unfortunately is a dangerous assumption
Dangerous? Really? It's not an assumption. I wasn't talking about when you were young, I said today nobody needs to poach. I your out of meat all you have to do is ask in the West. I'll confine my comments to the west.

Most meat gets dumped because there's not enough people to take it all. I don't know what you feel a family needs in meat, but I grew up as poor as anyone you could point a finger at, and know that we consumed 2 elk, 1 deer, more fish than I want to remember, chicken mixed with some pork once a month, lots of Bologna and Tuna fish and cheap hot dogs. When me and my brother got older and had tags they too added to the meat supply but at that point in time we started to give it away. I think I know what a family needs in meat, whether rich or poor.
 

Witherall13

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I know of a guy that got busted for running an illegal outfitting business, allowing guy to take game with rifles in a shotgun only state out of season harvest over the limit harvest illegal transportation illegal possession and a bunch of other crap, now get this other than siezure of one rifle and game he had in possession nothing else was taken because the vehicles and equipment were deemed “agricultural use” he was given a fine of $10,000 and lost hunting privileges for two years, during those two years he still continued to hold hunts and provide outfitter style hunts with donations to his farm. How the hell is that appropriate punishment? They should screw these guys to the wall for poaching but they slap them on the wrist and send them on their way.
 

npaden

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I'll confine my comments to the west.

Most meat gets dumped because there's not enough people to take it all.
Really? Most meat gets dumped? Is that what you really meant to say? As in more meat is dumped than eaten?

That's not my experience at all. If someone has more than they can consume, it is really easy to give away. I sure hope there isn't anyone out there dumping wild game meat.
 

WyoDoug

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I venture to guess that 90% of all poaching is done out of greed and not because they need meat. That gives people who do need meat a bad rep. Most poachers do not give a damn about the meat and are after the trophy. Many poaching incidents I hear about from the game wardens here, the head is cut off and rest of the animal is wasted. The amount of people who actually poach out of survival or needing the meat I am guessing based on what I have researched to be less than 5 percent.

As to the reply on roadkill, every state has different laws on that. In WYoming, a game warden can issue you a tag that allows you to recover edible portions. That has only recently changed. For years the game commission fought attempts in the legislature to make that legal. Taking a roadkill without permission of a game warden will get you a ticket here.
 

shoots-straight

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Really? Most meat gets dumped? Is that what you really meant to say? As in more meat is dumped than eaten?

That's not my experience at all. If someone has more than they can consume, it is really easy to give away. I sure hope there isn't anyone out there dumping wild game meat.
Maybe not most, as in a higher percentage of of butchered meat.
 

mtmuley

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In this day and age, in most states, tags are liberal, especially for doe deer or cow elk. No need to poach. mtmuley
 

WyoDoug

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As to references of meat being dumped by hunters, Wyoming has a problem with meat being abandoned both in the field and at processors. This was so bad that new proposals for laws are brought up nearly every year to try and make it more expensive to do that.
 

nick87

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Maybe not most, as in a higher percentage of of butchered meat.
Probably a lot of truth to that. I know a lot of guys who put game in the freezer and then use maybe ten percent of it or less. Once the freezer is full in a couple years they pitch it out to make room again. I've never understood that. I'm not well off by any means but if we didn't have game in the freezer we would still eat fine. Yet I make sure we use all of it, I hate waste.
 

ClearCreek

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As to the reply on roadkill, every state has different laws on that. In WYoming, a game warden can issue you a tag that allows you to recover edible portions. That has only recently changed. For years the game commission fought attempts in the legislature to make that legal. Taking a roadkill without permission of a game warden will get you a ticket here.
The bold statement above in NOT true. There is no provision in Wyoming statute or regulations that allows a game warden to issue a permit to allow someone to recover meat from a road killed critter. The bill allowing the salvage of meat from road killed animals was NOT passed in the legislature. A person can be issued a citation for salvaging meat from a road killed animal.

ClearCreek
 

Sandpounder

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I think this said that you could get an interstate game tag from a warden for salvage. I will wait for clarification I guess. Back in the day the local LEO's would keep a needy family in mind and help find a fresh roadkill, sometimes even help with processing. My parents were better than I am about being aware of needs and helping out where they could. I have enough planks in my eye to build a house. Unfortunately there is a lot of food waste, and a lot of need both. I think food banks get a good donation month or two and I don't know what they do the rest of the year.
 

WyoDoug

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The bold statement above in NOT true. There is no provision in Wyoming statute or regulations that allows a game warden to issue a permit to allow someone to recover meat from a road killed critter. The bill allowing the salvage of meat from road killed animals was NOT passed in the legislature. A person can be issued a citation for salvaging meat from a road killed animal.

ClearCreek
You my friend should do your research first. Here is cut and paste from the Wyoming G&F FAQ:

Q. Can I pick up road-killed big game animals?
A.
Not unless you get the animal tagged with an interstate game tag. Your only option is to find a game warden and have it tagged with an interstate game tag. The law is strict concerning road kills to help prevent poaching. If the laws were more liberal, a person who poached a big game animal could claim "I found it," or "It was a road kill."

Now you are correct on the proposed laws, the 2013 bill did not get voted to law. Wyoming G&F position right now is that roadkill generally is not safe to consume plus it increases poaching. However, if you can get a game warden to come out and inspect the animal, he can issue you a tag allowing you to take possession of the animal. The game warden has wide latitude on whether to issue a tag or take possession of the animal himself and dispose of it.

What you can not do is take the roadkill and ask for forgiveness later. If you can not find a game warden to issue a tag, you are SOL and must leave the animal lay.
 

WyoDoug

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I did some more research. Here is response from the chief game warden here in Cheyenne:

In Wyoming, road killed animals cannot be donated for human consumption, so a game warden is not able to issue interstate game tags for road kills. Wyoming Statute 35-7-1302 states that donation of game animals shall not come from any road kill animal and any road kill animal shall not be eligible for donation. Please see the link below for explanation of retrieving antlers or horns attached to the skull or skull plate.

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Ask-Game-and-Fish/Jim,-can-I-legally-remove-the-head-with-antlers-or

What this means, is you can not recover roadkill for human consumption. There are however, options to recover roadkills in Wyoming for other than human consumption.
 
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