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poaching

Natrona Man Fined $45K For Selling Poached Meat As Beef Jerky

in News/wildlife/Crime
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Natrona County man was fined recently for selling jerky made from poached game meat and advertising it as beef jerky, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced Monday.

Gary Lee Ferrier was fined $45,070 after pleading no contest to hunting violations filed in connection with allegations he improperly took game meat and then used it in place of beef to create jerky.

Department officials credited the public for the tip that led to an arrest in the case.

“Game and Fish is grateful to the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office for their diligent work on this case, along with the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office and the person who came forward with this information,” said Brian Olsen, Casper region wildlife supervisor. “This type of case can significantly impact Wyoming’s wildlife. It may have gone undetected without the public’s help. 

“Antelope Hunt Area 73 is an extremely busy hunt area near Casper,” he continued in an interview with Cowboy State Daily.

“However, the importance of a single tip to the Stop Poaching Hotline from one individual made the difference. It kicked off the entire investigation. We are proud of our game wardens for following up on a single tip and stopping what could have been a significant negative impact on a local herd. But, mostly, we thank the individual who made the call. Their observations and information made all the difference,” he said.

According to Game and Fish officials, a tip from the public through the Stop Poaching Hotline alerted Game and Fish staff to possible hunting violations. The investigation revealed Ferrier had been killing mule deer and pronghorn without licenses and during closed seasons.

He then substituted the big game meat for beef to sustain his jerky business. The business sold products to unsuspecting customers throughout Wyoming and online.

Game and Fish game wardens located multiple deer and pronghorn antelope carcasses. Investigators sent tissue and jerky samples from the animals to the Game and Fish Wildlife Forensic Lab for DNA comparison, which showed a match from 18 mule deer and pronghorn antelope that were poached.

Ferrier was arrested by the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office and charged with 26 wildlife violations. In a plea agreement with the state, he pleaded no contest to killing a buck mule deer and a buck antelope without a license and during a closed season.

Ferrier was also charged as an accessory to the killing of another buck mule deer and buck antelope without a license and during a closed season.

The plea agreement also included two counts of wanton destruction of big game animals and three counts of selling game meat.

In exchange for his no contest plea, the Natrona County district attorney dismissed the remaining charges.

In addition to the fines, Ferrier lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a minimum of five years. He also will not be able to hunt in Wyoming or 48 other states that are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact until all of the fines and restitutions are paid in full.

Additionally, Ferrier forfeited all firearms seized by Game and Fish, all illegal wildlife parts and all supplies associated with the sale of game meat. 

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Green River Game Officials Seeking Info About Poached Doe

in News/wildlife
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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking information from the public about a poached doe mule deer that was found along the Green River Saturday.

The doe had been shot and left to waste along the east shore of the Green River across from the Pioneer Trails picnic ground on Oct. 2, according to WGF Game Warden Justin Dodd. 

Dodd said it’s a highly trafficked area and WGF is hoping that someone might have seen something around that time. 

General deer season in that region opened on Oct. 1, though it is not legal to shoot a doe nor is it common to find one left to waste, Dodd added.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-877-943-3847, texting a tip to 1-877-943-3847, by texting “WGFD” and message to TIP411 (847-411), reporting online, or by contacting Green River game warden Justin Dodd at (307) 875-3225 ext. 8609. 

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Colorado Man Busted For Late-Night Poaching

in News/wildlife/Crime
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Colorado man was sentenced to pay more than $3,300 in fines for poaching multiple big game animals.

Dylan Zuber, 23, of Grand Junction was charged with 20 counts of wildlife violations, including willful destruction of wildlife and the illegal possession of three or more big game animals. He pleaded guilty to one count each of willful destruction of wildlife, illegal possession of three or more big game animals and hunting with artificial light on July 26.

As part of the adjudication of the criminal case, Zuber was ordered to donate $2,500 to Colorado Operation Game Thief and pay $3,360.50 in fines and court costs.

In June 2020, CPW Officer Zac Chrisman received information from an anonymous party suggesting Zuber and a friend had poached a buck and doe mule deer on Piñon Mesa in Mesa County. On the same night, Zuber’s friend was in a fatal rollover vehicle accident.

In the following days, Chrisman, with the help of other wildlife officers in Grand Junction, was able to locate the carcasses of a buck and doe mule deer in locations consistent with the report.

Over the course of the investigation, more illegal animals were discovered, and it became obvious that this was not the first time Zuber had killed wildlife illegally.

After a thorough investigation, wildlife officers filed the case with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

“I would like to thank the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work and dedication on this important case,” Chrisman said. “Poachers who steal wildlife from law-abiding citizens will not be tolerated.”

A Mesa County judge sentenced Zuber to a four-year deferred judgement for the felony charge of willful destruction of wildlife, which includes a court ordered prohibition of hunting and possession of firearms as well as 50 hours of community service.

Zuber’s conviction makes him eligible for suspension of all hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges in Colorado and the other 47 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. This possible suspension will be determined at a later date.

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