Wyoming Game and Fish released a report detailing key statistics, operations, and accomplishments of rangers, wildlife researchers, and other employees.
Wyoming rangers patrolled more than half a million miles — 574,171 to be exact — in 2021, according to the Wyoming Department of Fish and Game’s annual Law Enforcement Report.
The report notes that in 2021, the public submitted 245 tips through the Stop Poaching Hotline, the text message line, and the Game and Fish website. Rangers investigated these tips and, in numerous cases, were able to confirm wildlife violations and identify possible suspects. Investigations due to the Stop Poaching program resulted in 26 citations and 23 warnings issued to violators.
“Although the workload is demanding, the selfless and cooperative efforts of many on the Game and Fish team help spread the load,” said Rick King, Chief Ranger. “The cases highlighted in this report demonstrate the collaboration necessary to protect Wyoming’s wildlife.”
Conviction of wildlife violators would not be possible without the help of the public and the work of the Fish and Game Wildlife Health Forensic Laboratory. Forensic laboratory personnel employ various evidence techniques on evidence collected during wildlife crime investigations. More than 16,000 samples were tested in 2021, resulting in the payment of $54,148 in fines and restitution. Many of these cases resulted in the suspension of hunting privileges and the confiscation of firearms and other equipment used to commit wildlife crime.
For the second time in Wyoming history, lab staff compared tissue from a bull elk head recovered in the Sheridan region from an antler buyer to the Wyoming Headless Carcass Database. The match led to the successful conviction of a Montana man who was sentenced to $12,570 in fines and restitution. The database was created more than 15 years ago and contains 231 samples from across Wyoming.
In all, there were 3,258 enforcement actions statewide in 2021. Top violations included fishing without a license, trespassing on private land, violating rules on hunting and fishing lands, and failing to stop at a boat control station.
The full report is available on the Game and Fish Law Enforcement website.
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