CODY - Sidney E. Pratt, of Cody and Big Fork, Mont., was sentenced last week in a Park County court for falsely claiming Wyoming residency to obtain resident hunting licenses and a fishing license.
Based on a plea agreement, Pratt, 48, was ordered to pay $2,500 in fines plus court costs and lost his hunting and fishing privileges for one year in Wyoming. Based on a multi-state agreement called the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, he will also lose one year of hunting and fishing privileges in 36 other states.
"Falsely claiming resident status to hunt and fish is a serious offense in Wyoming," said Mark DeHart, Wyoming Game and Fish Department game warden. "By purchasing these resident licenses, Pratt cheated deserving Wyoming sportsman out of hunting opportunities and dollars."
From 2006 through 2008, Pratt bought a Wyoming general elk license, an antlerless elk license, and a fishing license for the lower resident rate, even though he claimed residency in Montana to buy resident Montana hunting licenses duringthe same time.
"The residency law is simple; you must be a United States citizen or legal alien, and you must be domiciled and physically reside in Wyoming for one full year - 365 consecutive days - immediately preceding the date that you apply for or purchase a resident license," DeHart said. According to DeHart, domicile means that place where a person has his true, fixed, and permanent home. Having a mailing address, owning property or a business, or being employed in Wyoming does not in itself prove Wyoming residency for license buying purposes.
DeHart also noted that a person could lose their Wyoming residency if they leave the state for extended periods or make a claim of residency in another state for any purpose. By law, if you reside in another state, territory, or country for an aggregate of 180 days (six months) or more in a calendar year, you are no longer a resident for purchasing licenses. Exceptions to this are minor dependents, those temporarily employed in the service of the United States,students, military personnel, and other special situations.
A brochure entitled "Am I a Wyoming Resident?" provides basic guidelines and information regarding the complexissue of residency and is available at all Game and Fish offices and online by Clicking Here.
(Contact: Tara Teaschner (307) 527-7125)