Game and Fish Department Finds More Poached Antelope; Wants Help In Finding Suspects
The poaching of pronghorn antelope in northern Natrona County now covers a 50-mile crime scene, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Friday, eyewitnesses reported the crime when they saw it at the junction at Bucknam Road and 33 Mile Road, Janet Milek said.
"They identified the vehicle as a dark maroon, reddish colored SUV with the brand of a Nissan, probably an Xterra," Milek said. "They identified the fact that they were shooting across the road towards the antelope."
The front license plate was white with red letters or numbers, so the vehicle was not registered in Wyoming. Witnesses saw four males and identified the weapon as an AK47-style assault rifle, according to Milek and a news release from the Game and Fish Department.
Tuesday, authorities found more decomposed antelope 50 miles west of the first scene on 33 Mile Road towards the southern Bighorn Mountains, Milek said.
Those animals were killed Friday, too, she said.
"Apparently it was a vehicle just traveling down the road just and shooting just at every antelope that they saw," Milek said. "That's what so callous about this particular poaching. is they just shot the animals for kind of a thrill kill and left them to rot."
The Game and Fish Department is not releasing the number of antelope killed because the case is still under investigation, Milek said.
The Natrona County Sheriff's Office is working with the department, she added.
If caught, the suspects would be charged with a high misdemeanor called "wanton destruction of a big game animal," Milek said. This crime is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and up to one year in jail.
"It's just a sad event where people just have no appreciation of Wyoming's wildlife," she said. "There's lot of people that aren't hunters that enjoy Wyoming's wildlife. It's not just the loss of meat, it's the loss of viewing opportunity, and just being outdoors."
Anyone with information on this crime is encouraged to call the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP. Tips may result in a reward of up to $5000 and informants can chose to remain anonymous.