Tip Leads to Conviction in Alcova Antelope Poaching Incident

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A 32-year-old Alcova man lost his hunting and fishing privileges for two years and was ordered to pay substantial fines in Natrona County Circuit Court after he confessed to killing two antelope out of season in February.

On Feb. 27, Game and Fish Department personnel received a tip about the possible poaching of a mature buck and a yearling doe antelope. The animals were killed in the early evening of Feb. 26. After some meat was removed, the carcasses were dumped along Kortes Road in the town of Alcova.

Information from an anonymous source led Game and Fish law enforcement personnel to suspect Benton S. Bowman. Wildlife Technician Jon Stephens investigated the scene and later secured a warrant to search Bowman’s residence for evidence tying him to the crime. Stephens and Investigative Supervisor Mike Ehlebracht contacted Bowman at his residence just as he arrived home on Feb. 27. Bowman, an employee of a Casper transportation company at the time, then confessed to the crime and consented to a search of his home. During the search Game and Fish personnel recovered meat from the pronghorns and the Remington Model 700 .300 Winchester short magnum caliber rifle that was used to kill the antelope.

Stephens said Bowman, who was cooperative with law enforcement personnel, was charged with two counts of taking big game during closed season and two counts of waste of a big game animal. He was sentenced March 10. He was also issued warnings for taking big game from a roadway, hunting big game on private land without permission and failure to produce a hunter education card.

"Poaching is a serious crime that affects law abiding sportsmen and all Wyoming residents," Stephens said. "Poachers severely impact our wildlife resource and should be treated as criminals. We all need to work together to stop poaching and protect our game and fish resources to ensure they will be available for future generations."

Anyone with information about a wildlife violation is urged to call the "Stop Poaching" hotline at (800) 442-4331. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if the information leads to a conviction. "All ‘Stop Poaching’ tips are important and do make a difference," Stephens said. "Even those tips that informants believe are minor can often help solve a wildlife crime."