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Call to Poaching Hotline Busts Two Men in Wyoming
April 15, 2008.
From Wyoming Game and Fish:
On Sept. 22, 2007, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department received a tip on its Stop Poaching Hotline concerning a buck mule deer that may have been shot and left on the Bigelow Bench Walk-in Access Hunting Area.
Game and Fish warden Rick King responded to the call and discovered a mature four-point buck deer that had been recently shot and left to waste. King said several items of evidence were obtained at the scene and the caller to the Stop Poaching Hotline was able to give a description of two male suspects in the area, just prior to the discovery of the deer.
"The next day, I received a call from a ranch manager near Lonetree, who reported a dead buck mule deer on the old Wadsworth Ranch Sage Creek Pasture," King said. "I investigated and located two buck mule deer that also had been recently shot and left to waste. I collected evidence at this crime scene and submitted that evidence, along with evidence from the Bigelow Bench buck, to the Wyoming State Crime Lab in Cheyenne."
"The Game and Fish Wildlife Investigative Unit immediately provided their assistance in the case following the discovery of the two bucks in Sage Creek." King said. "We received several informational tips in the weeks following the initial investigation that indicated Aaron Adams and Sean Davis were responsible for killing the Bigelow Bench buck, the bucks in Sage Creek and a fourth buck killed on private property south of the Walk-in Area on Bigelow Bench."
King said a search warrant was served on two vehicles and a residence in Fort Bridger in early October.
"We were able to obtain further evidence linking Davis and Adams to the crimes, including spent rifle casings from a rifle uncovered during the search. The Wyoming State Crime Lab determined the casings obtained during the service of the search warrant matched the casings found at the Sage Creek crime scene. The crime lab also matched fingerprints from evidence secured at the Bigelow Bench crime scene with those of one of the suspects."
During the course of the investigation, Wildlife Investigator Jim Gregory obtained videotape from a residence in Mountain View, which showed Adams and Davis killing a buck deer with a .22 caliber rifle.
"Adams and Davis filmed the killing of this deer and the videotape ended up in the hands of an acquaintance of the two men. We later determined that the deer killed on the tape was the fourth deer killed by Adams and Davis," King said.
Both men have been charged with conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals, a felony charge. In addition, each man faces misdemeanor counts of wanton destruction of wildlife. If convicted of a felony, the two could face up to two years imprisonment and lose the ability to possess a firearm. The misdemeanor wanton destruction charges could result in the loss of all hunting privileges in Wyoming and 27 other states that are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact.
Charges and sentencing for Adams and Davis are pending in Uinta County.