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Wyoming Poacher Fined $8,000, Banned From Hunting For 8 Years

June 3, 2009.

From Wyoming Game and Fish:

Poaching of a trophy mule deer has resulted in nearly $8,000 in fines and restitution and suspension of hunting and fishing privileges for eight years for Rocky Donaldson Jr. of Story.  

Sheridan County Circuit Court Judge John J. Sampson ordered Donaldson to pay $5,410 in fines and $2,500 in restitution for killing the 10 by 8 point buck without a license and making a false statement on an interstate game tag affidavit. In addition, Donaldson's hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for eight years, making him ineligible to purchase hunting or fishing licenses until 2017. Donaldson was also placed on one year unsupervised probation and sentenced to sixty days in jail, suspended upon successful completion of his probation.

The case was instigated in early 2008 when Wyoming Game and Fish Department Sheridan game warden Bruce Scigliano received information that Donaldson had killed a large buck deer without a license east of Sheridan. Further investigation in April 2009 showed that Donaldson had taken the head of a trophy class deer to a Sheridan taxidermy shop, signing an affidavit claiming that a Sheridan area woman had killed the animal. 

As a result of further investigation by Scigliano and Dayton game warden Alan Osterland, it was learned that Donaldson had killed the deer without a license on Oct. 1, 2007. Donaldson then persuaded the woman to buy a license to "cover" the illegal kill. Donaldson had only recently moved to Wyoming in the summer of 2007 and was not eligible to purchase resident licenses.

"Not only did Mr. Donaldson choose to kill a large deer without a license, he then convinced a second person to transfer a license, allowing Donaldson to take the animal to a taxidermy shop," says Scigliano.  "When an individual takes an animal in for taxidermy they are required to sign an interstate game tag affidavit, supplying the name of the person who harvested the animal and attesting that the animal was taken legally. In this case, this was obviously false and the sentence reflects the importance of a properly signed affidavit."

Scigliano acknowledges that the case would not have been possible without the cooperation of members of the public and a Game and Fish clerical worker. "This was a large deer taken on public land," Scigliano said. "Unfortunately, due to the actions of one individual, it was not available for legal hunters. It took the cooperation of several folks to bring the case to its successful conclusion."

Anyone witnessing a wildlife violation can also call the Stop Poaching hotline at 877-WGFD-TIP. Tips are most helpful when specific information is provided such as the date, time, location and specific details about the suspected violation. If possible, those reporting violations are asked to include a physical description of the suspected individual as well as a license plate number and description of any vehicles involved in the incident.

Tips may result in a reward and informants can choose to remain anonymous.

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