Regional Offices > Casper Region > Casper Region News > Lusk area poachers lose hunting privileges for 20 years

Lusk area poachers lose hunting privileges for 20 years

August 30, 2019
Upcoming Region Events: No events planned
Sign Up up for our newsletter
Violators must may over $96,000 in restitution

Casper - Two Niobrara County juveniles recently pleaded guilty to 24 counts of wildlife violations resulting in over $96,000 in restitution and loss of hunting privileges for 20 years.

In early 2018, the Lusk game warden received a tip from the public to be aware of some high school students who were poaching big game animals.  Upon investigation, the game warden determined the scope of illegal activity was substantial. 

“At first I thought it might be a few wildlife that were poached, like small game and maybe an out of season big game animal, but the list of offenses just kept growing,” said the game warden.

Evidence showed there were over 150 violations for each individual, including illegal take of song birds, raptors, small game, furbearers and big game, along with wasting of game meat. They took over limits, shot game out of season and without licenses. The individuals also violated fair chase and safety laws like shooting from the road, trespassing, spotlighting, illegal calibers and shooting road signs.

One juvenile from Niobrara County pled guilty to 12 counts of wildlife violations.  There were over 56 initial counts that were reduced to 12 in a plea agreement. They ranged from wanton destruction of big game to knowingly taking an antlered big game animal without a license. Nine of these counts were under W.S. 23-3-102(d), which is any person who knowingly takes any antlered elk, antlered deer, antlered moose, horned antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, grizzly bear or black bear without the proper license or during a closed season. This statute provides for some of the stiffest penalties of any wildlife violation.

The second juvenile also pled guilty to 12 counts after the plea agreement reduced the initial 56 violations to 12.  These violations were similar in nature and included five counts of W.S. 23-3-102(d).

“As I look back at my time as a game warden, this case is the largest poaching case in my career and one of the largest in the state in recent history.  I hope these young adults can learn from their mistakes,” said the game warden. “Each offense takes away opportunity from a person who buys a license and legally hunts. People in Wyoming take these offences seriously.”

In addition to the restitution, they will be spending 90 days in jail over the next year at the Niobrara County Detention Center; they shall not possess firearms, archery equipment, ammunition or black powdered rifles for a period of 20 years. They are on probation for 10-years that includes not possessing drugs or alcohol or associate with individuals who use drugs or alcohol. They were also fined $60,000 that was suspended. Hunting, fishing, trapping and the ability to purchase preference points privileges were also revoked for 20 years.

All suspended fines, jail time and probation for each individual, along with the 44 counts of wildlife violations that were initially charged, are available to the Niobrara County Court for future judgment if the defendants’ violate their probation.

Game and Fish would like to commend the Niobrara County Attorney’s Office for their hard work and support in this prosecution. They were thorough and worked  to ensure the interests of the people of the State of Wyoming were met as well as coming up with a sentence that will allow these two young people to  have an opportunity to turn their lives around.

This case demonstrates the importance of poaching reports from the public. The investigation began with a Stop Poaching tip and stresses the importance for members of the public to contact the Game and Fish with information about possible poaching crimes.

Anyone with information on a wildlife crime can call the Stop Poaching Tip Line at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). Tips may also be reported online at, or by text at TIP411. Informants can choose to remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward for information leading to an arrest.

- WGFD -

Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People