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Tip Helps Solve Poaching Case

08/20/2012

CASPER -A Laramie man lost his hunting and fishing privileges for five years and faces more than $1,000 in fines after poaching a mule deer near Casper earlier this year.

Casper Game Warden Aaron Kerr received a tip from an informant on Jan. 17, 2012, about a buck mule deer that had been shot south of Coal Mountain Road. When Kerr went to investigate he found Josh Robins at the scene with the head removed from the deer. Robins indicated he had found the deer dead and cut off the head to salvage the antlers. Warden Kerr ran a check on Robins and discovered an outstanding felony warrant out of Colorado. He arrested Robins on the felony charges and also charged him with illegal possession of the deer head.

On Jan. 18 Kerr returned to the scene with Game Warden Daniel Beech to conduct an investigation. They found tire tracks and footprints Robins made around the carcass on Jan. 17 and also discovered footprints that had partially filled with snow when it last snowed on Jan. 16, the date Kerr estimates the deer was killed. “There were sufficient signs on the ground to indicate he was at the scene of the crime twice,” Kerr said. Robins indicated he was in the area hunting coyotes on Jan. 16.

The wardens also found 10 empty casings from a .270-caliber rifle along the side of the road. Warden Kerr obtained a search warrant for a house in Casper where Robins was temporarily living. During the search, officers discovered a .270-caliber rifle, two handguns, and an AR15 rifle. The firearms were all reported stolen from a home in Laramie in December 2011. The empty .270 casings matched the firearm discovered in Robins’ home.

Robins, having already pled guilty to illegal possession of the deer head, was charged with taking an antlered big game animal out of season and shooting from a public roadway. In addition, he was charged with possessing and receiving stolen property in Natrona County and aggravated burglary in Albany County. His trial was set for July 19, 2012. On June 11 he changed his plea to guilty in the illegal taking of a big game animal.

He was sentenced to six months in jail for the illegal harvest of a big game animal and lost his hunting and fishing privileges for five years and will pay $1,040 in fines for that violation. Robins also has a plea agreement in place to plead no contest to receiving and possessing stolen property in Natrona County. Under the plea agreement, he will likely serve 2-4 years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. In addition, he will face aggravated burglary charges in Albany County. He will also face the felony charges in Colorado.

“This is a great example of the fact that poachers often participate in a wide variety of criminal activity,” Kerr said. He thanked the reporting party who discovered the deer carcass and did the right thing by calling it in. “This individual did a great job of seeing a problem. He contacted Game and Fish right away and even provided photographs, which helped link the evidence with the criminal.”

Anyone with information on any wildlife crime is urged to call the Stop Poaching Tip Line 877-WGFD-TIP.

(Contact: Robin Kepple (307) 473-3400)

-WGFD-

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