One of the more common violations of Wyoming Game and Fish laws is the illegal purchase of resident hunting and fishing licenses by persons who are not residents of Wyoming. The motivating factor for these purchases is financial as there is a substantial difference in cost between the two license types.
However, as a Colorado resident recently discovered, that savings quickly evaporates once the illegal purchase comes to light. A University of Wyoming student, who was a resident of Colorado, found out the hard way that the courts are not taking these violations lightly.
As a result of a plea agreement reached in Laramie County Court, the Monument, Colo., resident was fined $2,000 and was suspended from hunting in Wyoming for 2010. Since Wyoming is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, this suspension also includes the 32 states, including Colorado, that are members of the Compact.
The case involved one charge of false statement to obtain an elk license and one charge of transferring a license from another person. Cheyenne game warden Todd Kittel, who investigated the case, said he became suspicious when the Cheyenne Game and Fish office received a returned license in the mail with a note that the addressee was no longer in Wyoming but was in Colorado. The following day Game and Fish received a phone call, requesting the license and for it to be mailed to a separate Wyoming address. Further investigation revealed that the license was for a deceased relative and the Wyoming student attempting to obtain the license was doing it fraudulently. The investigation also revealed the student had already illegally obtained a resident elk license for himself.
According to Kittel, there was no question the UW student was still a resident of Colorado as he was paying nonresident tuition along with still holding a Colorado driver's license and having his car registered in Colorado. The student had also purchased a resident Colorado elk license the previous year.
Kittel said the Game and Fish regularly investigates license purchases where suspicions are raised. "Numerous cases are made each year for "False Statement" Kittel said. "With consistent cooperation from other states and information becoming more readily available via computers, it is making it easier to investigate these types of violations."
Wyoming residency laws are simple for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses. Wyoming law reads that to be a resident the person must be domiciled in Wyoming for not less than one year and has not claimed residency elsewhere for any purpose during that one year period immediately preceding application for a license. Established residents need to reside in the state for an aggregate of 180 days in a calendar year to maintain residency. Some exemptions exist for military personnel, minor dependents, students and other special situations.