CODY -B. Joe Coy, owner of Yellow Creek Outfitters in Cody, was recently ordered by a Park County court to pay $2,820 in fines and relinquish his 2012 outfitter license in his conviction for five wildlife violations.
The violations included accepting payment for outfitting services on a resident guide license, outfitter's failure to report the waste of a bighorn sheep and a mountain goat, and two counts of outfitting in unauthorized areas. Coy, 59, also received one year of probation and lost his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for three years.
An 18-month joint investigation by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Shoshone National Forest revealed that Coy had unlawfully outfitted and guided out-of-state hunters. Kathy Crofts, lead wildlife investigator with the Game and Fish, said that although Coy was a licensed outfitter at the time, the Wyoming Board of Outfitters andProfessional Guides allowed Coy's Yellow Creek Outfitters to operate only on pre-approved private and Bureau of Land Management lands. Crofts said that in 2005, Coy's commercial operating permit for the Shoshone National Forest was not renewed due to a long history of repeated violations with the forest service.
Since he could not outfit on the Shoshone, Coy obtained a resident guide license to take a Wisconsin hunter on an archery bighorn sheep hunt in August 2010. Coy accepted $8,500 from the out-of-state hunter for this hunt, an act that is illegal under a resident guide permit.
Nonresidents are required to have a guide while hunting in wilderness areas of Wyoming. Resident guide licenses giveresidents the opportunity to take out-of-state friends or family members in wilderness areas to hunt without the hunter paying for a professional guide or outfitter.
"To obtain a resident guide permit, a person must confirm that they are not accepting any compensation, either directly or indirectly, for their services," Crofts said. "The Wisconsin hunter was clearly a paying client, not a family friend."
In September 2010, Coy outfitted two other sheep hunters on the Shoshone National Forest. During this hunt, Coy witnessed his client leaving edible portions of a harvested bighorn sheep in the field and failed to report it, as required bylaw. Both men were hunting with Governor's bighorn sheep licenses purchased at auction for $54,000 and $56,000.
"By law, hunters are required to retrieve all edible portions of big game animals from the field after harvest," Crofts said. "In addition, if an outfitter or professional guide observes a game law violation, they have a legal responsibility to report it to the Game and Fish."
When the sheep was checked in at the Game and Fish office two days after harvest, Coy and the sheep hunter couldonly produce the head, full body cape, and a 12-pound bag of meat containing the back straps from the animal. The hunter was also issued a citation for waste and adornment of a big game animal.
"Coy knowingly allowed waste of the sheep, failed to report it to the Game and Fish, and even paid for his hunter's fine," said Crofts. "There are many law-abiding hunters who would be grateful for the opportunity to hunt a bighorn sheep and be thrilled to take all the meat from a successful harvest, not just the trophy parts."
Coy also pleaded guilty for failure to report the waste of a mountain goat that one of his clients harvested in 2008.
(Contact: Tara Teaschner (307) 527-7125)