redneck refuse leads to poaching bust

By Jim Stanford on November 4, 2013

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Game Warden Jordan Kraft shows the antlers taken by the poachers.

In a plot that could have been lifted from The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, two gas field workers are facing fines, jail time and loss of hunting privileges for poaching two mule deer bucks near Pinedale last fall.

The men were undone by their redneck lifestyle, leaving behind a tin of Copenhagen chew and can of Monster energy drink they apparently littered at the scene of the crime. Wyoming Game and Fish Department investigators were able to trace the men through surveillance video at the convenience store where they purchased the items.

The Game and Fish press release, after the jump, reads like a horror story of gas field culture. There’s no telling what acts of depravity humans may commit when amped up on Monster energy drink.

PINEDALE — Two northeast Wyoming residents, who were working in the Pinedale area, have been convicted of several charges relating to the illegal shooting and abandonment of two trophy-class mule deer south of Pinedale last fall.

Matthew Mulcare, of Moorcroft, was convicted on two counts of Wyoming’s Winter Range Statute for taking two antlered mule deer out of season, one count of waste, one count of wanton destruction, one count of shooting from a public road and one count of illegal caliber for big game. As a result, he was fined $5,840 in fines and $6,000 in restitution for the two deer illegally shot. The .223 caliber rifle used in the crime was forfeited to the State of Wyoming and his hunting privileges were suspended for 6 years. In addition, Mulcare was ordered to serve 35 days in jail.

Joel Newberry, of Gillette, was convicted on one count of accessory to waste, one count of accessory to wanton destruction, and two counts of accessory to taking antlered deer out of season. As a result, he was fined $5,160, ordered to serve 19 days in jail and his hunting privileges were suspended for 4 years.

The two deer were illegally shot near Buckskin Crossing, off the Lander Cut-Off road southeast of Pinedale, on November 12, 2012. Wyoming Game and Fish Warden Duane Kerr was on patrol as part of the annual mule deer winter range task force and discovered the head-less, and partially processed, carcass of a mule deer within hours of the deer being killed. Subsequent investigation revealed a second deer had been shot and left in the same area.

The case was made after items of trash from both crime scenes, including a can of Copenhagen chewing tobacco and a can of Monster energy drink, were found to have been purchased from the Boulder Store on the morning the deer were poached. Analysis of receipt transactions confirmed that both of these items were purchased from two young men in a tan Dodge truck, which matched a description of a truck in the area, according to witnesses. The men were identified from video surveillance and transaction history information. A search of the two individual’s homes in Gillette and Moorcroft revealed a severed deer head and two quarters of deer discarded into a ravine at Mulcare’s residence.

The two men were subsequently apprehended at a gas field “man camp” near Big Piney, at which time a search of the suspect’s truck revealed a set of deer antlers and the .223 rifle used in the crime. The Wyoming Game & Fish Wildlife Forensic Laboratory in Laramie matched blood, hair and tissue DNA samples from the field to the suspect’s truck, the suspect’s house and the recovered deer antlers. Additionally, the Division of Criminal Investigation’s Crime Lab matched ballistic samples from the field and the abandoned deer carcass to the suspect’s gun.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department South Pinedale Game Warden Jordan Kraft touts the successful conviction of these two deer poachers as a shining example of hard work and cooperation amongst the many who were involved. “This case is a credit to witnesses providing key information, fantastic cooperation of the store owners, a coordinated team of 10 different game wardens and investigators from both corners of the state and both investigative labs,” said Kraft. “I would also commend Circuit Court Judge, Curt Haws, and Deputy Sublette County Attorney, Clay Kainer, who continue to aggressively protect the treasured mule deer, and other wildlife, of Sublette County.”

Although trophy mule deer can be difficult to find in the vast backcountry during hunting seasons, they are more visible, and thus more vulnerable, as they transition to winter ranges. Each year, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department operates a winter range task force, which brings wildlife enforcement officers in from around the state to help patrol mule deer winter ranges. Kraft credits the task force for the successful conviction of these two deer poachers. “Clearly, the additional law enforcement presence made the difference in discovering these two illegally shot deer in a timely manner.”

But even with the increased enforcement presence, Kraft is asking for help from the public. “We do not have the personnel to be everywhere, all the time, so we rely on reports from the public,” said Kraft. “There are quite a few people out there watching the deer and their reports of suspicious activity can be extremely helpful. Whether you’re a hunter, or just a wildlife enthusiast, the illegal shooting of these animals should not be tolerated by anyone.”

Anyone with information on a possible poaching incident should call the STOP POACHING hotline at 877-WGFD-TIP (877-943-3847), any Game and Fish regional office or any Game Warden. Information can also be reported online by clicking on the Stop Poaching icon found on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s homepage. Any information leading to an arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.

~ WGFD ~

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Posted under Crime, Environment, Wyoming

18 Comments so far

  1. Boat 1 Retired November 4, 2013 10:29 am

    Thinking we will see this as a story line in an upcoming episode of Longmire! Nice job G&F. Perhaps a better punishment would be to send these two yahoos on a back-country expedition with the knuckle-heads who went skiing in the Breccia cliffs this past weekend

  2. D November 4, 2013 12:37 pm

    Jim

    There is no doubt this is a great bust. I’m happy they will be punished and hopefully fired from their jobs. Hunters and Non-Hunter alike should do all we can to stop poaching.

    My question is why you selectively choose this story? There have been many busts in the last few weeks, months, and years. This is the only one I‘ve seen that involves the oil and gas fields. The accused/convicted include rednecks, ranchers, landowners, locals, tourists, and others. Why pick this one story and try and paint with such a broad brush? You could have easily picked the story about a prominent JH Local that was involved in multi-state family run poaching operation, but that wouldn’t fit the stereotype you are trying to portrait.
    I encourage you to keep putting poachers on blast! I have ZERO tolerance for it! Let’s do it to all of them and not the selective few that fit our agenda.

  3. dave November 4, 2013 7:12 pm

    definitely good investigative work. reminds of another local incident years ago where the perpetrator was caught by recovering tobacco spit DNA.

  4. Jim Stanford November 4, 2013 10:40 pm

    Mostly an issue of timing, D. And the details of the chew and energy drink were too good to pass up.

  5. joe November 5, 2013 9:16 am

    good call, D

  6. D November 5, 2013 12:54 pm

    I will give you that haha.

  7. Davie November 6, 2013 10:41 pm

    D:

    You’re more than welcome to start your own blog if it’s so important to ya.

    Jim has pretty much given up posting the good stuff – or any stuff since he’s joined the dark side. All sorts of interesting stuff has passed by his radar.

  8. Dave Vlcek November 8, 2013 2:16 am

    Good Job, WG&F! Who says oilfield scum don’t impact Wyoming Wildlife?! Tip of the Iceberg? I support the lifetime ban on hunting and fishing priveledges for oilfield scum like this.

  9. Larry November 8, 2013 8:28 am

    I’m glad they were caught and I’m glad the system hammered them for it. Why didn’t they tack on the charge for littering?
    I’m with D though, you didn’t have to pick on these two just because they’re gas workers and apparently a little more redneck than others.

  10. Jim Stanford November 8, 2013 12:52 pm

    We can’t publicize these busts enough. No sooner had I posted this and everyone gave investigators a pat on the back than G&F sent out another release asking for help on another poaching case in the same vicinity:

    PINEDALE – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking any information regarding a mule deer buck that was illegally shot this past weekend. The headless mule deer was discovered southwest of Little Prospect Mountain near Long Draw, just off of the Lander Cut-Off Road (CR 23-132) south of Boulder on Sunday, November 3. It is believed the deer was killed during the early morning hours that day. Anyone with possible information regarding this poaching incident, or who was in the area over the weekend and may have noted suspicious vehicles or activities, is encouraged to call the Pinedale Game and Fish office at 1-800-452-9107, the STOP POACHING hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847) or the South Pinedale Game Warden, Jordan Kraft, at 307-367-2470. Information also can be reported online by clicking on the STOPPOACHING icon found on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s homepage at: http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/home.aspx . Any information leading to the arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.

    Again, I did not spotlight this poaching case solely because the guilty parties were gas field workers. Rather, the details painted a vivid and sad story of Wyoming ripped right from a page by Alexandra Fuller.

  11. Rob W November 8, 2013 6:50 pm

    Yeah, Jim. WTF? Stop writing up articles just because they have great details and paint an interesting picture.

    Seriously. Nobody wants to read a store with color or dirt or personality. Just stop.

  12. Ronnie C November 11, 2013 12:51 pm

    There is no relevance in the fact that these people were from the gas fields. Not everyone in the gas fields are douche bags or poachers. The fact that they were busted and will be paying for their effort is nice to see.

  13. David November 11, 2013 2:54 pm

    SORRY, I don’t much care that we lost another mule deer. The state issues licenses so that people will kill the animals after all. I don’t excuse the infraction, however.

    Hunters may break the law to a greater degree than any other sportsmen outside of those involved in doping, and some oil patch workers may not hit the high mark on the ethical barometer but poor behavior isn’t limited to the clowns in Jim’s posting.

    The mountain bikers and skiers who poach the wilderness are just as guilty as are the off-roading enthusiasts who rip up the landscape or the extractive companies that pollute it. Everybody has a hand in the death of wildlife and/or its territory.

    If I hit a trophy-class mule deer with my pickup truck while driving at night will the F&G come after me? Probably not. Jackson motorists have probably killed more wildlife out of season than any hunter intent on breaking the law.

  14. Brad November 12, 2013 8:51 am

    David @10 – Excellent points. No excuse for the poaching, but…

    Jim, a little more honesty, please. You say “…a plot that could have ben lifted from The Legend of Colton H. Bryant…”. “The Game and Fish press release…reads like a horror story of gas field culture”. And then you tell us with a straight face that you “did not spotlight this poaching case solely because the guilty parties were gas field workers”? Then you turn right back around to Fuller’s gas field chronicle for reference? Well, which is it? “…too good to pass up” indeed.

  15. D November 12, 2013 10:26 am

    @Dave

    Oil field scum? You must know so much about them and how they are terrible people?? The least you could do is call them by the correct name. Gas field scum would be the accurate way to describe them. They don’t drill for oil they drill for gas, the same gas you use to heat your home. They do a job that is necessary, hard, and dangerous the least you could do is educate yourself about the people you are so quick to trash.

  16. sarah November 15, 2013 10:07 pm

    @dave
    Oilfield scum, huh? My fiance is hard working and busts his butt daily to make the money that supports our family. You should be grateful for our kind of trash that helps to support this economy. If you don’t like it then stop putting gas in your car. As for the story, great bust!

  17. fish j November 17, 2013 10:12 am

    More of the open-minded diversity and compassion of the lefties for people who live different lives than them.

  18. Jim Stanford November 21, 2013 12:59 pm

    And two more poaching incidents from around the Pinedale area:

    JACKSON – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking any information regarding a buck mule deer that was illegally shot and left south of the Exxon Black Canyon facility, approximately 18 miles southwest of Big Piney. It is believed the deer was killed on or around November 13, 2013.

    In addition, Game and Fish is seeking any information on a bull elk that was shot and taken on or around the evening of November 16, 2013, on the Bureau of Land Management boundary between South Cottonwood Creek and North Cottonwood Creek. Enforcement officers also are seeking information on a camp that was at the same location during the same time period.

    Anyone with possible information regarding these poaching incidents, or who was in the area during those times, and may have noted suspicious vehicles or activities, is encouraged to call Big Piney Game Warden Adam Hymas at 307-276-3359, the Pinedale Game and Fish office at 1-800-452-9107 or the STOP POACHING hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). Information also can be reported online by clicking on the Stop Poaching logo found on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s homepage at: http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/home.aspx.

    Any information leading to the arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.

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