Trophy Mule Deer Poachers Convicted
From Pinedale and Riverton
by Wyoming Game & Fish
November 9, 2007
(Pinedale)- Michael J. Meeks of Pinedale, Wyoming and Cody R. Post of Riverton, Wyoming were recently convicted of illegally killing a buck mule deer near Daniel, Wyoming, on October 31st, 2007. The Halloween night escapade resulted in the two individuals killing a large buck deer during a closed season, at night, with artificial light near Daniel, Wyoming. Only the head with antlers were taken and the meat was left to waste.
The two used .17 caliber rifles to kill the trophy class deer. Both Meeks and Post were charged with taking an antlered deer during a closed season, taking a deer with artificial light and wanton waste and abandonment of game meat. They were each sentenced to $8,540 in fines and restitution, totaling $17,080. Both lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 5 years. In addition, two .17 caliber rifles with scopes, ammunition, a knife and a flashlight were confiscated by the Department and forfeited to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department by the Sublette County Circuit Court.
Big Piney Game Warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Brad Hovinga, applauded the efforts of Judge John Crow and Judge Kurt Haws, both involved in the case. “I think they sent a clear message that the poaching of mule deer will not be tolerated in Sublette County.”
Hovinga also recognized the efforts of Sublette County Attorney Ralph Boynton and his office for their relentless effort in prosecution of the case and the individuals who commit wildlife crimes. “This was definitely a team effort on the part of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Game Wardens and the Sublette County Attorney’s Office,” said Hovinga.
”Obviously, we end our hunting seasons when we do to protect these animals during the winter months when they are more vulnerable,” said Hovinga. “After years of trying to bring our mule deer numbers back up, any loss is disturbing, but especially when it’s a blatant illegal shooting like this.*”
Thousands of mule deer, from the Sublette and Wyoming Range deer herds, spend their winters in the Pinedale-Big Piney-LaBarge area. It’s no secret that these animals are vulnerable this time of year, not just to poachers, but vehicle collisions and harassment by winter recreationists, including antler hunters, photographers and wildlife viewers.
In recent years, Game and Fish enforcement personnel have focused more attention on these mule deer winter ranges, but they still need help. “Obviously, we do not have the personnel to be everywhere, all the time, so we rely on reports from people who are out there,” says Hovinga.
”There are actually quite a few people out there watching the deer and their reports of suspicious activity can really help us. Whether you’re a hunter or just a wildlife enthusiast, people should be outraged about the illegal shooting of these animals,” said Hovinga.
People should look for the following poacher profiles:
• Out of state vehicles with evidence of travel in the countryside
• often sport utility vehicles or pickups with toppers. Violators frequently stay in motels.
• Presence of camping, hunting or outdoor equipment.
• Firearms, spotlights, scanners or night vision equipment.
• Folks claiming to be in the area to hunt coyotes or photograph deer.
• Vehicles traveling in rural areas during the early morning, evening or late at night.
• Small amounts of blood or hair
• poached wildlife typically not be readily visible.
To report information on this poaching incident or other suspicious vehicles or activities call the Pinedale Game and Fish office at 1-800-452-9107 or the STOP POACHING hotline at 1-800-WGFD-TIP (1-800-943-3847) or your local game warden. Any information leading to the arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.00.