BUFFALO - A Gillette woman, Prairie Whiteface, has been ordered to pay fines and restitution totaling $19,500 following a guilty plea of the illegal taking of two bull elk in 2011 and 2013 on a ranch near the Powder River east of Buffalo.
Due to the seriousness of the elk violations, and because of a previous case involving Whiteface in 2009, Johnson County Deputy Attorney Ryan Wright and Whiteface’s defense attorney drafted a plea agreement for the fines and restitution. Circuit Court Judge Shelley Cundiff then sentenced Whiteface in accordance with the agreement.
On April 28, 2014 Whiteface, entered a plea of guilty to the illegal take of two elk without proper licenses in 2011 and 2013. The case was initiated in October 2013, when Gillette game wardens Dustin Kirsch and Teal Joseph relayed information they had received regarding a possible poaching incident to Buffalo game warden Jim Seeman. After Seeman received the information he recalled a similar type violation that occurred in 2009 involving the same defendant. In that case, Whiteface’s license was given to a Texas man to use when he harvested a buck mule deer. The Texas man was charged with taking a deer without a proper license and paid a fine of $780. The mule deer in that case was also confiscated.
In the elk cases, it was Whiteface that used licenses in 2011 and 2013 that were not issued to her. After the Gillette wardens and Seeman collected physical evidence about both elk, Seeman interviewed Whiteface who admitted to killing both elk and having the elk she killed in 2011 mounted.
In addition to fines and restitution, Prairie Whiteface lost her privilege to purchase licenses and hunt for three years. With her hunting privileges suspended in Wyoming, Whiteface will not be able to purchase hunting licenses in 38 other states that are members of the Wildlife Violators Compact. Both elk heads were confiscated and the meat from the elktaken in 2013 was donated to a family.
(Contact: Bud Stewart (307) 672-7418)