TOUGH POACHING PENALTIES

sambar

New member
Joined
Sep 3, 2001
Messages
61
Location
VICTORIA Australia
Found this on another site, thought I'd share it w/you guys seeing those great sheep pics--well i thought this might fit in to the forum.
CODY -- A “STOP POACHING” tip led to the conviction of two Greybull men for poaching two bighorn sheep rams on the North Fork of the Shoshone River last December and has taken the penalties for wildlife violations to a new level.

Gary C. Vorhies, 39, was sentenced to two years in Park County jail and his accomplice, Cody J. Cannady, 33, will serve one year. In unprecedented sentencing, Vorhies will lose his hunting and fishing privileges for 50 years. Cannaday lost his privileges for 10 years.

In a jury trial held last June, Vorhies was convicted of two counts of wantonly taking a bighorn ram and two counts of taking a bighorn ram without a license and out of season. During the same trial, Cannaday was convicted of aiding and abetting in Vorhies violations, two counts.

Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters sat patiently for nearly eight hours during the sentencing hearing Oct 12. When both sides had made their arguments, Waters sentenced Vorhies to four years in jail with credit for the 11 days he had previously served and ordered Vorhies to pay $44,620 in fines, restitution and court cost.

Judge Waters stated that if he could send Vorhies to prison he would. Vorhies violations are not felonious in nature and because county jails are not equipped for long-term sentences, one year of Vorhies jail sentence was suspended for one year of electronic monitoring or home arrest and two years of supervised probation. Vorhies must pay for the cost of the monitoring equipment. While serving his jail sentence, the judge will allow a once a month furlough for professional counseling at Vorhies expense.

Cannady received two years in county jail with credit for two days served and was granted a work release. One year of his sentence was suspended provided he serves one year of supervised probation. Fines, restitution and court costs were levied against Cannady for $19,560.

The court ordered Vorhies to pay $30,000 restitution for the two rams after hearing testimony that on average, a Wyoming bighorn sheep license brings $30,780 at auction. The court further stated that Cannady is “jointly and severally responsible” for the second ram. In essence, both men split the restitution on the second ram unless one of them defaults.

Although Cannady’s jail term, fines and restitution was less severe than Vorhies; the remainder of their sentences was similar. Judge Waters ordered that neither defendant may violate any local, state or federal law. Upon release from custody, each defendant must report to the Department of Corrections, Probations and Parole within 24 hours. In addition, they must comply with all the rules and regulations of that Department.

The judge went on to state that neither defendant may take (as defined by Wyoming Statute) any wildlife nor shall they accompany, aid or assist any other person (as defined by Wyoming Statute) in Wyoming or any other location that is taking an animal as defined by Wyoming Statute. They may not be employed in any manner if related to wildlife and their probation officer must approve all employment.

Neither defendant can receive or posses any newly acquired animal parts while on probation and shall immediately provide a current list of all animal parts to their probation officer, which the defendant currently possesses. The only wild game that Vorhies or Cannady will be allowed to be near is that of a gift of legally acquired game meat or fish.

[[[[They cannot possess any firearm, archery equipment, or any other equipment used for the purpose of hunting, fishing or trapping. This includes but is not limited to hunting knives, ammunition, binoculars, saws, spotting scopes, etc. Neither defendant may own or possess or be in any location where hunting equipment, including guns, knives, or archery equipment is stored or kept or temporarily held or maintained.]]]

[[[[Furthermore, neither defendant is allowed to be upon the premises of any national forest, national park, state forest, state park or game reserve. In addition, they cannot participate in any hunting or camping activities.]]]]]

With regard to their monetary obligations, they must be paid pursuant to a payment plan approved and endorsed by their probation officer. The plan must be submitted to the court and county attorneys office.

To determine compliance with the terms of probation, their probation officer or any law enforcement officer including a game warden can search their person, vehicle, residence or any other thing within their dominion and control.

It is illegal for either Vorhies or Cannady to possess, obtain, or attempt to obtain any license or preference points issued by the G&F or any other entity pursuant to Wyoming statutes.

Judge Waters specifically instructed Vorhies that he is not to initiate contact with Cody game warden Craig Sax, the investigating officer.

“The most significant aspect of this case was the fact that two men who were currently under license suspension for past wildlife violations, chose to go sheep hunting on Christmas eve and got caught,” said Sax. He added that the range of penalties for prosecutors, are useful deterrents for violations and the higher end penalties are useful and appropriate for this case. “We don’t see the maximum penalties applied very often but in this case, the system worked as it should,” said Sax.

Cannady’s arrest record indicated that in 1991, he was cited for failure to tag a black bear. Then in 1995, he was cited for taking a black bear after the season closure. In 2000, he was arrested for an overlimit of elk. Prior to his arrest in 2001, he was cited for obtaining a license while under suspension.

In 1980, Vorhies was cited as an accessory to taking a deer out of season with archery equipment and had his hunting privileges suspended for one year and one month. Ten years later he was arrested for trespassing, taking an elk without a proper license, waste of game meat and false oath on an Interstate game tag. Then in 1991, Vorhies was charged as an accessory to taking an elk out of season and trespassing.

In 1992, he was arrested for obtaining benefits by fraud. According to the records, Vorhies had paid his restitution, but had not paid his fine and an outstanding warrant for his arrest was issued. This warrant tripped Vorhies up on Christmas Eve, 2000.

The STOP poaching tip was initially routed through the Park County Sheriff’s office. The reporting party had observed one of the two sheep killed. Two hours later, he saw it dead on the hillside. To his credit, the concerned citizen did not intrude upon the crime scene, allowing the investigation to proceed unhampered.

Warden Sax soon thereafter received the message and drove up the North Fork to meet with the reporting party. On his way to the site, Sax passed a vehicle stopped along the roadside and observed blood on the tailgate of the white pick-up truck.

Upon identifying the individuals in the vehicle and running an enforcement background check on them, the outstanding warrant for Vorhies was discovered. Subsequent to his arrest by Park County authorities, Vorhies admitted to killing two bighorn sheep.

During the sentencing, the two poachers were described by prosecuting attorney Kelly Rankin, as being serial poachers. “The most significant thing about this case and its outcome is that it should send a clear message to other would be poachers that we take wildlife violations seriously and that in this case, justice was served,” he said.

He further stated that in his opinion, there is a need for more serious penalties when it comes to chronic poaching. “Felony charges may be appropriate,” said Rankin.

According to Rankin, both Vorhies and Cannady are to report to the Park County jail Nov. 12, unless they appeal their sentences.

Wyoming’s Chief Game Warden Jay Lawson, said this case exemplifies the problems Wyoming faces. “We are seeing an evolution in poaching where we have gone from the days when people poached animals out of season for food, to the modern day ‘wildlife criminals’ who choose to illegally hunt the biggest and the best animals, taking away opportunities for legal hunters and stealing from the people of Wyoming,” said Lawson.

Lawson further stated that this case also demonstrates how effective citizen participation in wildlife law enforcement can be. “We are extremely pleased more and more people are assisting in our wildlife enforcement efforts by using our ‘STOP Poaching’ program,” added Lawson.
NOW THOSE PENALTIES ARE WHAT I CALL A DETERRENT TO POACHING,THE WAY I READ IT YOU CANT EVEN HAVE A FEW BEERS IN YOUR BUDDY`S GUN-TROPHY ROOM.
:D :D

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 25 October 2001 14:17: Message edited by: sambar ]</font>
 

danr55

Active member
Joined
Dec 18, 2000
Messages
4,327
Location
Mesa, AZ
The only part of this report that bothers me, is the statement that this was not a felony. Most places, any larcenous act that involves property valued in excess of $1500.00 is considered a felony. By placing a value on the two sheep of $30,000 that should place this in the felony class. Otherwise, it's not too bad. I would liked to have seen these two do hard time.
:cool:
 

GilaMonster

New member
Joined
Aug 29, 2001
Messages
264
Location
New Mexico
That's more like it!! Finally a judge did something besides a little slap on the hand. If more judges would actually do something to the criminals, maybe they would get the picture. At least these guys should get the picture!
 

wyomingtim

New member
Joined
Dec 17, 2000
Messages
684
Location
Bountiful, Utah
Thanks for your congrats. that is one i got to help on. i hadn't heard what the court decided, but it sure feels good to be on the winning side. we were trying to find a way to get $30K per ram because Wyo Game and Fish still had it at $15K. we wanted to get it closer to ID and MT. Looks like teh judge agreed with us.
 

DaleT

New member
Joined
Dec 25, 2000
Messages
141
Location
Austin,TX,USA
I believe that is what it's going to take to keep people from poaching. Here in Texas, they take the vehicle, guns, and fine the crap out of you. It has slowed down the poaching a bunch. Now if they will put the jail time with it, I bet it will tighten it down even more.
 
Top