In a coordinated project with wildlife investigators from Utah, Colorado and Idaho, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has issued more than 120 citations resulting in fines of more than $36,000. The citations were issued to individuals that were claiming dual residency between the states for the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. An additional 60 warnings have also been issued.
The violations were uncovered following a project initiated in 2007 by the Wyoming Wildlife Investigative Unit. The project involved a resident license cross-check between Wyoming and the three neighboring states that combined computer programs from resident license purchases for 2005 and 2006 with data from Wyoming residents who purchased resident licenses during that time period.
Of the more than 130,000 individuals in Wyoming who purchased resident licenses, 320 were found to be claiming dual residency. Wildlife statutes in all the involved states allow the claiming of residency in only one state for the purchase of resident hunting and fishing licenses.
Further investigation of the 320 individuals found that 130 residents were not in violation as Wyoming statutes allow certain exceptions. Some 90 individuals were found to be full-time residents of Wyoming and these have been referred to investigators in Idaho, Utah, and Colorado for prosecution of dual residency.
Wyoming investigators contacted the remaining individuals and received a variety of reasons for the dual resident license purchases. Many thought dual residency was allowed, and claimed misinformation given by license agents. Others knew it was a violation and were simply trying to get away with buying cheaper resident licenses.
According to Wildlife Investigative Supervisor Mike Ehlebracht, false oath violations are a serious concern for the department. "This type of double dipping cheats hunters and anglers in all states," Ehlebracht said. "The department and the investigative unit are committed to identify and prosecute as many of these people as possible. We plan to continue these dual-residency law enforcement projects with the other states."