Antler hunters convicted
Two Star Valley residents lose all hunting privileges for 2010, fined $380
by Wyoming Game & Fish
May 24, 2010
BIG PINEY - Star Valley residents, William Barnett (40) of Freedom, WY and Jeremiah Stewart (29) of Thayne, WY were recently found guilty of collecting shed antlers during the newly implemented closed season near Daniel. Judge Curt Haws handed down the same sentence to both resulting in a loss of all hunting privileges until 1/1/2011, in Wyoming and the 33 other states involved in the violator compact. In addition, both individuals were fined $380 and placed on 1 year probation during which time they cannot hunt antlers or be with anyone antler hunting. All the antlers that were illegally collected were confiscated.
Barnett and Stewart were found hunting antlers in the Ryegrass area of Sublette County on March 20, 2010. Big Piney Game Warden Adam Hymas waited for them to return to their vehicle. Realizing this, the two decided to abandon their truck and walk to Daniel in the middle of the night. Warden Hymas was able to locate their stash of 12 antlers the following morning and make contact with both Barnett and Stewart. Both confessed their actions when questioned by Warden Hymas and Pinedale Game Warden Coordinator Scott Werbelow.
"Clearly, these two individuals were intentionally violating the new regulation, taking antlers from the honest sportsmen who waited for the season to open," said Hymas. "We treat this regulation just like any other wildlife regulation enforcing it to the fullest extent."
The antler hunting season regulation prohibits the gathering of shed antlers from January 1 through April 30 on public lands west of the Continental Divide. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission enacted the regulation this winter after a series of public meetings held in the fall of 2009.
Despite this case, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reporting generally good compliance during the state’s first shed antler gathering season. "The purpose of the new regulation was to minimize disturbance of big game animals on their winter and spring ranges, "said Werbelow. "It appeared to achieve that goal as we saw a lot less traffic on those traditional big game winter ranges this year."
In an effort to facilitate compliance, the Game and Fish Department brought in four additional game wardens from other parts of the state to increase enforcement presence in the Pinedale and Big Piney areas.
"While most people complied with the new regulation, there were a total of 5 individuals who were cited for violating the shed antler season in the Pinedale Region and another individual was caught antler hunting on private property without permission," said Werbelow. "It should be noted that many of these cases were made possible through tipsfrom concerned citizens and we really appreciate that."
Hymas applauded the efforts of Judge Haws and Sublette County Attorney Lucky McMahon on this case. Hymas added, "I think a strong message was sent that wildlife and the laws governing it are important to the state of Wyoming and its residents."
Anyone witnessing a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP. Tips are most helpful when they are reported promptly and include information such as the date, time, location andspecific details about the suspected violation. Also important is a physical description of the suspected violator as well as a license plate number and description of any vehicles involved in the incident.
Stop Poaching tips can also be reported online at:
Tips may result in a reward and informants can chose to remain anonymous.