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Antelope Poachers Busted In Wyoming

October 22, 2008.

From Wyoming Game and Fish:

Thanks to the vigilance and concern expressed for Wyoming's wildlife by two Cody residents, the perpetrators involved in the June 14, 2008, killing of a mature buck antelope have been apprehended and convicted.

James C. Boomer and Daniel W. Rezac were charged and convicted of knowingly taking a horned antelope without a license and during a closed season. Boomer pleaded no contest; Rezac pleaded guilty to the charges. Both men reside in Park County.

An initial Stop Poaching report was made on June14, 2008, by a local Cody resident. The report stated that a dead buck antelope had been found along the YU Bench Road and it appeared that the buck had been killed earlier that same day. The subsequent investigation proved this to be true.

"When we began our investigation it was evident that the antelope had been shot multiple times with a small caliber firearm," said Wyoming Game and Fish Department's South Cody game warden Tim Fagan. Wardens recovered .22-caliber bullets from the carcass and found .22-caliber casings at the scene.

The following day the Game and Fish announced that it was offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the poachers. The result of this appeal through the local media led to a second Stop Poaching report providing officers with information to narrow the investigation to two subjects.

"We initially stated that we would aggressively pursue this case and we did. At the height of the investigation, six game wardens, the Park County Sheriff's office and the Cody Police Department were involved," Fagan said. "Search warrants were served, evidence was confiscated and the two men were arrested."

Fagan noted public involvement was integral to solving this case— he commended Park County residents. "The vigilance and concern expressed by the people in Park County continues to demonstrate how committed they are to our wildlife resource and we want to thank them for their commitment," Fagan added.

On Sept. 3, 2008, Circuit Court Judge Bruce B. Waters, Fifth Judicial District, Park County, sentenced Boomer to incarceration in the Park County Detention Center for a period of 200 days with credit for 70 days served. He was fined $5,000 and assessed $30 court costs. He further ordered Boomer to pay restitution (the dollar value of an animal to the state) jointly with Rezac in the amount of $3,000. The judge suspended the 120 days of incarceration and placed Boomer on unsupervised probation for a period of one year. Boomer's hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for six years.

On Sept. 10, 2008, Judge Waters ordered Rezac be incarcerated for 120 days with credit for one day served. He was fined $5,000 and assessed $30 court costs. Waters further ordered that 98 days of his incarceration be suspended with 21 days left to serve. The defendant was placed on unsupervised probation for a period of one year. Rezac had his hunting and fishing privileges suspended for five years and was ordered to forfeit a .22-caliber handgun to the Game and Fish.

Fagan also stated that an individual who loses his or her privileges to hunt in Wyoming actually loses them in 29 states, all of which are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. The compact includes a reciprocal recognition of license suspension.

"Any person whose license privileges are suspended in Wyoming would also be suspended in the member states of Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Missouri, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Iowa, Indiana, California, Georgia, South Dakota, Michigan, Kansas, New York, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Wisconsin and Kentucky," Fagan said.

Anyone observing or suspecting a wildlife violation can report it and remain completely anonymous by calling (877) WGFD-TIP. Wildlife violations may be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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