BAGGS - Thanks to a tip from a concerned hunter, a Rawlins man is facing fines and penalties for killing a moose he thought was an elk and leaving it to waste.
Albert Wayne Vanderford Jr., 49, of Rawlins, was sentenced by Judge Jane Eakin in the Carbon County Circuit Court on Nov. 6 for taking a moose without a license. Judge Eakin sentenced Vanderford to a one year probation, hunting and trapping privileges suspended for three years, and $8,520 in court fines and restitution for the moose.
Baggs Game Warden Kim Olson said had it not been for a tip from another hunter who suspected something was illegal this case might not have been solved.
“On Oct. 25, Vanderford asked another hunter not associated with him if he would help load his “elk”, Olson said. “This legal hunter immediately knew that was no elk and told Vanderford that it was a moose and not an elk.”
Vanderford proceeded to tell the other hunter that he moved to Rawlins from Florida and it was his first time hunting elk. The other hunter was able to provide a physical description of Vanderford, including that he had a southern accent, a vehicle description, and a partial license plate number.
“Had this man not taken the time to record this information we might not have been able to solve this case,” Olsen said.
Olson said everyone makes mistakes at some time in their life and hunters are no exception.
“We understand that accidents happen, but honesty is the best policy in every case,” Olson said. “Mr. Vanderford had two opportunities to turn himself in and admit he made a mistake. Instead, he chose to flee the scene, lie about the moose poaching, and leave a moose to waste instead of field dressing it. He could have made the best of a bad situation, but he chose poorly. If there is a bright side, it’s the fact that another hunter cared enough to notice there was a problem and take action.”
Olsen said the moose did not go to waste. “The Snake River Taxidermy and Processing Plant in Baggs donated the time and cost to process the moose and the meat was given to those in need.”
Anyone with information on a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching Hotline at 877-WGFD-TIP. Tips may be reported online at wgfd.wyo.gov and to local Game and Fish offices and game wardens. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000 if the information leads to a conviction.
(Contact: Kim Olsen (307) 383-2160)