CODY - Recently in a Park County Circuit Court, Stephen Kovacs of Michigan pleaded guilty to taking a buck mule deer west of Cody without a license.
North Cody Game Warden Travis Crane said that he was able to close the case because he witnessed the crime and was able to collect critical evidence at the scene.
“On November 6, I witnessed Kovacs shoot a buck mule deer in the Wall Creek drainage on the North Fork of the Shoshone River,” Crane said. “When Kovacs was contacted at the site however, he denied shooting his rifle or knowing there was a dead buck mule deer near his location.”
Four other people in Kovacs hunting party also denied having knowledge of the illegally harvested buck. “Despite the fact that one member of the hunting party legally harvested a buck 100 yards away from the illegally harvested animal and they were the only group hunting the area, all five members of the hunting party denied involvement in the incidence through multiple interviews with Wyoming Game and Fish Department wardens,” Crane said.
Evidence collected at the scene indicated otherwise. “Boot tracks matching the tread pattern of Kovacs’ boots were found at the location of the deer carcass and casings matching a round from Kovacs’ rifle were found where the deer was shot from,” Crane said.
After Crane seized Kovacs' rifle and boots and issued a citation, Kovacs confessed to shooting the deer. “Kovacs admitted he got excited when he saw the buck, and was hoping to fill a deer tag for another member of his party,” Crane said.
Kovacs was ordered to pay $750 in court fines and $4,000 in restitution to the Wyoming Wildlife Protectors Association. Kovacs will lose all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for the next three years.
Anyone with information on a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP, report online at wgfd.wyo.gov, or call the Cody Game and Fish office at 307-527-7125. Those with information can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward. Help protect Wyoming’s wildlife: “Stop Poaching – Help Us Stand Watch.”
(Contact: Tara Teaschner (307) 527-7125)