Poachers get bagged when they call 911
February 13, 2006
(Pinedale) The Wyoming Game & Fish Department caught two Rock Springs men for a two-county deer and antelope poaching spree last fall, resulting in over $17,000 in fines. The men ultimately were charged with the illegal killing and wasting of seven deer and a buck antelope.
On September 21, 2005, the two men drove through the Wyoming Game & Fish Scab Creek Elk Feedground in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains west of Boulder and went off-road onto private land. There they managed to impale their truck on rocks and got stuck. The men called 911 summoning Search and Rescue. When the Sublette County Sheriff's Department reached the remote area, deputies discovered an untagged doe mule deer in the stranded truck and notified Wyoming Game and Fish.
Through their investigations, Wyoming Game & Fish personnel learned of earlier poaching and were ultimately able to charge and convict the two men in Sublette and Sweetwater Counties for a number of wildlife charges including taking a deer out of season, over-limit of deer, transfer of license and failure to tag a deer, wanton destruction of a deer and waste of game meat. Samuel J. Buck, 34, and James T. Mason, 23, received jail time, fines and had their hunting privileges suspended for 5 and 3 years.
When asked why he committed the violations, Buck said he needed the meat to feed his family. The men hung the poached deer and antelope carcasses in the basement of their home in Rock Springs for approximately two weeks before partially butchering the animals, according to a girlfriend.
Officers also discovered a 3 by 3 mule deer head hidden in a crawlspace in the home, along with a 30.06 rifle. Full-metal-jacket, military-type ammunition was found in the truck and the men admitted to shooting deer with the cartridges, which resulted in the charge of improper ammunition. Wyoming regulation requires big and trophy game hunters to use soft and expanding point bullets. Federal charges are also pending on Buck for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The truck remains stranded in the rocks near Boulder.