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Moose Poacher Busted in Wyoming's Big Horns

February 12, 2009.

From the Wyoming Game and Fish Department:

On Jan. 22,  Washakie County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Harrington sentenced Larry A. Mead of Greybull to pay $7,500 in fines and $7,500 in restitution to the State of Wyoming for illegally taking an antlered moose in Ten Sleep Canyon.

"During sentencing, Washakie County Attorney William Shelledy and Judge Harrington placed a high value on the moose, not only to the hunting public, but to the state in general, as moose are one of the premier wildlife species that occupy the Big Horn mountain range," said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Ten Sleep game warden Tom DeSomber.

Judge Harrington also revoked Mead's hunting privileges for a period of eight years. Mead was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, 25 of which were suspended and was placed on one-year probation during which time he cannot accompany anyone in the act of hunting.

The case began with a STOP Poaching report from a concerned hunter late in the evening of Oct.15. The hunter had observed a small bull moose bedded down within 50 yards of Road 435 in Ten Sleep Canyon. Less than two hours later the hunter heard two shots that seemed to come from the general vicinity of the young bull. Later that day the hunter drove past the area where the bull had been bedded and observed the bull with its head down in a pool of blood.

The next morning warden DeSomber met the reporting party where the moose had been killed and found the carcass had been removed. An investigation of the site showed that the moose had been field dressed. DeSomber observed two sets of boot tracks in the snow and drag marks indicating the moose had been halved and dragged to the road with the use of an all terrain vehicle. There were vehicle tracks along the old highway and marks in the snow from ramps where the all terrain vehicle had been unloaded and loaded.

Farther up the road, DeSomber observed tire tracks similar to those near the crime scene on an entrance to a cabin where an ATV was parked. A sign near the entrance read "Mead."

A carcass coupon on one of two mule deer observed hanging near the cabin provided DeSomber with information necessary to perform a hunting license database search. The search revealed that Mead had been issued a 2008 moose license but it was not valid for the Big Horn Mountains. Mead's license was valid for moose Area 37, located north of Jackson.

Mead was questioned the same day regarding his involvement in the incident and he admitted what he had done.

"Mead had hunted in Area 37 for several days but did not harvest a moose," DeSomber said. "When he observed the young bull in Ten Sleep Canyon he decided to shoot it and falsified the date of harvest.  His decision was a costly mistake."

DeSomber said the department and many county attorneys and judges take wildlife violations seriously and anyone who values hunting should stay legal.

"An individual who loses their privileges to hunt in Wyoming actually loses them in 30 states, all of which are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact," DeSomber said. 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, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Anyone observing or suspecting a wildlife violation can report it and remain completely anonymous by calling (877) WGFD-TIP (877-943-3847) or reporting the violation on the WGFD Web site.  Wildlife violations may be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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