Elk NetworkAnti-Poaching Vigilance Increasing in Wyoming, 2022 Law Enforcement Report Released

General , Poaching | November 2, 2023

Below is a news release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. For 2023, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching.

Wyoming game wardens patrolled more than 600,000 miles in 2022, according to the annual Wyoming Game and Fish Department Law Enforcement Report. The report details key statistics, operations and accomplishments of game wardens, wildlife investigators and other employees dedicated to protecting one of Wyoming’s greatest natural resources — wildlife.

There were 2,838 law enforcement actions statewide in 2022 with one of the largest poaching cases in history brought to a close. The public’s vigilance in 2022 resulted in the submission of 323 Stop Poaching tips through either the Stop Poaching Hotline, text tip line or the Game and Fish website — a 31% increase from the previous year. Game wardens investigated these tips and, in numerous instances, were able to confirm wildlife violations and identify possible suspects. Investigations from the Stop Poaching program led to 34 citations and 14 warnings issued.

“Your game wardens are working hard to serve you and conserve wildlife. The public’s eyes in the field and reports of suspicious activity are critical to our mission,” said Rick King, Game and Fish chief game warden.

In 2022, one of the largest poaching cases in Wyoming history was brought to a close due to the
collaborative efforts of multiple state and federal law enforcement partners. The case began in 2015 when a Gillette game warden received a request from a hunter for an interstate game tag to accompany a head as it was shipped out of state for taxidermy work. Intuition prompted the game warden to check some facts and dig deeper into the request. The result of this hunch, combined with a heavy dose of hard work and persistence, uncovered more than 100 wildlife violations committed by three individuals who plundered Wyoming’s wildlife over the course of a decade. Their crimes included the illegal killing of bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, mule deer and other species, as well as fraudulent applications for resident licenses.

“This case highlights the skills and abilities of our Wyoming game wardens and their incredible ability to team up with others in the protection of wildlife resources,” King said.

Top violations for the year 2022 included fishing without a license, trespassing on private land, failing to stop at a watercraft check station and failing to tag a big game animal.

The full report is available here.

(Photo credit: Wyoming Game & Fish Department)