Warden probes elk poaching

Sep 24, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Wyoming Game and Fish officials are looking for information about an elk carcass found Wednesday afternoon on private property in Fremont County.

A Sheriff's deputy found the carcass at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday with its head missing, as well as its front and rear quarters, according to reports.

The landowner said no one had been given permission to take the animal there, and the carcass was not found near public land, meaning it's unlikely whoever killed the elk simply made a mistake about their location, Game and Fish information and education specialist Rene Schell said Thursday.

"That is the difference - were they knowingly doing the wrong thing, or did they make a mistake?" she said.

The fine for trespassing is $435, according to Schell, and additional charges could be applicable depending on the condition of the carcass. For example, if edible portions of the elk were left behind, like the back straps and tenderloins, the suspect could be guilty of wanton waste and abandonment, which carries another fine of $435. Plus, if the suspect didn't have a license to take the elk, he or she would technically be poaching, another charge that costs $1,200.

"And there are probably some little ones I'm not even thinking of," Schell said, adding, "Sometimes they get restitution on top of that, but often not."

Restitution money goes to the Game and Fish department to promote wildlife conservation, Schell said, while other fines go to the state.

The Dubois-area game warden will investigate the incident, searching the crime scene to gather evidence that may reveal the suspect's identity.

"Fairly often (the suspect) can make a careless mistake," Schell said. "It could be as simple as a receipt that dropped out of their truck. ... You never know - if someone's in a hurry out there, things get dropped."

Nearby security cameras can be monitored as well, she continued, and if a gun was used to kill the animal, officials can test bullet fragments to determine what kind of firearm was involved.

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