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Task force nets antler gatherers

Posted: Friday, Apr 12th, 2013


Photograph of flagging tape used to mark antler locations. COURTESY PHOTO/Lucy Wold, WGFD


KEMMERER — Two southwest Wyoming men are the latest people to be prosecuted for violating the antler collection regulation, after a two-year Game and Fish antler task force investigation.

In March, former Kemmerer resident Jessie L. Gillard, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the antler collection regulation. Kemmerer resident Robert Krall, 31, was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to his violations in September 2012.

Habitat access coordinator Andy Countryman said Krall and Gillard were investigated in the spring of 2011 and 2012 for violating the antler collection regulation. Both men removed shed antlers on Miller Mountain, within a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) big game winter range closure, before the antler season opening date of May 1.

“[On] May 1, 2011, a legal antler hunter discovered a white painted antler with printed messages taped on the tines in a closed area,” Countryman said. “Due to the time of discovery, an early entry of the winter range was suspected and an investigation was initiated. The investigation revealed that Gillard had made at least two separate trips into the winter range before the May 1 opener. The first trip was executed in mid March and the second occurred in late April 2011.”

Gillard’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for two years and he paid substantial fines for the violations. As part of his probation, he must perform 40 hours of community service and refrain from collecting shed antlers in the regulated area for one year.

In the spring of 2010, at the public’s request, the department implemented the antler collection regulation in an effort to minimize unnecessary stress and disturbances on wintering wildlife. Several years previously, the BLM implemented a motorized travel restriction in closed big game winter ranges to address the same issues. In 2011, the department launched a law enforcement task force in the southwest corner of the state. The task force focused on enforcing the new regulation and educating the public on the impact of early antler hunting activities on wintering wildlife.

“The enforcement actions taken have been progressively more aggressive with such intentional acts of disregard for the regulation and the wildlife it was established to protect,” Countryman said. “Gillard’s violations were premeditated and he had very little consideration for the wintering wildlife or other antler hunters trying to do the right thing. These trips into the winter range occurred during one of the hardest winters recorded in many years.”

“I want to thank the public for their support of our efforts and protection of their wildlife,” Countryman said. “There were many people responsible for the apprehension and prosecution of this case — the Kemmerer and Pinedale BLM, department staff both local and statewide, and most importantly, anonymous public support, whose tips dramatically assisted in this case.”

Anyone with information on a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP. Tips may be reported to local game wardens or online at wgfd.wyo.gov Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000 if the information leads to a conviction.











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