Two Men Charged with Poaching Trophy Mule Deer in Wyoming
A report of possible poaching activity southeast of Pinedale Nov. 16 led to a high speed chase, a roll-over accident and two Salt Lake City men being charged for taking a trophy mule deer out of season.
Mid-morning Nov. 16, a concerned citizen reported suspicious behavior near the old town site of Big Sandy to Game Warden John Hyde. The citizen helped Hyde search the area on foot, and they found a mule deer carcass sporting a 5-by-5, 28-inch-wide antler rack laying behind a large rock.
Hyde put the scene under surveillance. At approximately 5 p.m. a pick-up truck arrived and dropped off an adult male. After the truck departed, Hyde notified Pinedale Game Warden Brian Nesvik and reported the man walked to the area of the deer before fleeing on foot after possibly being detected.
A few minutes later the truck returned to the scene. Hyde approached in his truck and told the occupants to pull off the road and exit the vehicle. The driver pulled to the side of the road and then fled at a high rate of speed. Hyde, the Lovell District game warden who was working the area for winter range mule deer surveillance, pursued the suspects westbound on the Eastfork-Big Sandy Road. With Nesvik close behind, the suspects reached speeds upward of 50 miles per hour on the winding gravel road and lost the flat bed trailer they were towing. Approximately 1 mile later, the suspects lost control of their vehicle at a corner and rolled several times. The game wardens said it was amazing the two were able to walk away from the accident with only minor cuts and scrapes. The men received treatment at the scene and refused to be transported to the hospital.
Nesvik obtained the cell phone number of the man originally dropped off near the deer carcass. The officer sent him a text message that his truck had been wrecked and to walk to the county road. The suspect complied by walking out to the county road near a residence.
With the help of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, the men, who had been working as subcontractors on commercial construction projects in the Pinedale and Lander area, were interviewed, arrested and transported to the Sublette County Jail at approximately 8 p.m.
Gregory L. Carter, 48, was charged with taking an antlered mule deer out of season, shooting from a vehicle and trespassing. Jeremy S. Zumwalt, 30, who was driving the pick-up, was charged as an accessory to the crime and interference with a peace officer. The officers suspect a .22-250 caliber rifle, a caliber not authorized for big game hunting in Wyoming, was used in the crime. The passenger of the vehicle was not charged.
Carter and Zumwalt were released from jail the evening of Nov. 18 after posting bond. Both suspects are scheduled to appear for arraignment on Dec. 13 in the Sublette County Circuit Court in Pinedale. The officers remind readers that all suspects are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
Anyone with information about a wildlife violation is encouraged to call the Stop Poaching Hotline at (877) WGFD-TIP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward if the information leads to a conviction. (contact: Brian Nesvik (307) 360-7436 or 367-2470 or Jeff Obrecht (307) 777-4532)