Hunting

Sweetwater County hunters banned from hunting after multiple poaching charges

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The president of a hunting advocacy group on Wednesday welcomed news that two Sweetwater County hunters have been convicted of multiple wildlife violations and banned from hunting.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Justin Chewning and Steven Macy were convicted of a series of charges filed in connection with numerous hunting offenses committed in 2019 and 2020 and fined a combined amount of nearly of $15,000. Additionally, Chewning lost his hunting and fishing privileges for 15 years, while Macy’s lost hers for two years.

Muley Fanatics President and CEO Josh Coursey told the Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that he was happy to see the two men convicted of charges including off-season elk hunting, but expressed fear that if they were willing to break the law before, they might be willing to do it again.

“We have law and order for a reason and we have rules and those who break the rules are held accountable,” Coursey said. “It’s unfortunate, because wildlife is a public good.”

Coursey said Chewning and Macy were tricking the state’s hunting system by illegally tagging wildlife they also illegally killed, taking something of value from Wyoming residents who own the wildlife.

He added that people don’t have to be hunters to appreciate Wyoming’s wildlife.

“Yellowstone has beautiful scenery, but I’ve said many times that if you take the wildlife out of the park, I imagine visitor numbers will drop to next to nothing,” Coursey said. “You don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate the beauty and see the free-roaming wildlife that abounds in our landscape.”

According to the Department of Game and Fisheries, while investigating game bird violations, its keepers learned that between October 1 and October 6, 2019, Chewning and Macy illegally killed mature elk during the season. closure, which they then labeled. general elk licenses.

The game wardens were able to determine the places where the elk were killed. They also found the carcass of an elk illegally killed by Chewning on October 1, 2019.

Using DNA analysis, the Game and Fisheries Department found a skull and antlers Chewning had in his possession were from the male elk.

Investigators also determined that on October 4, 2020, Chewning and Macy were deer hunting in Sublette County when Macy illegally killed a male mule deer and Chewning illegally tagged him.

Later that same day, while returning from the Pinedale area to Rock Springs, the two men were hunting in an area using the wrong permit and before the area was officially open for hunting.

Macy shot and killed two mature elk, and Chewning tagged one of the two illegally killed elk with his general elk license.

Chewning was charged with violations, including five counts of intentionally taking big game logging without a license or during a closed season; two for license transfer and two for intentional waste of edible game bird parts and big game dorsal strips.

Chewning pleaded guilty to three counts of intentionally taking an antlered bull elk without a proper license, one count of taking a bull mule deer without a license and one count of transferring a license.

Chewning’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for 15 years and he was ordered to pay fines of $1,585 and restitution of $7,000. All wild animals seized were forfeited to the State of Wyoming. All other charges were dismissed.

Macy was charged with five counts of intentionally logging big game without a license or during a closed season and two counts of transferring a license.

He did not contest one count of taking a bull mule deer without a license and two counts of intentionally taking a bull elk without the proper license.

Macy’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for two years and he was ordered to pay $5,640 in fines, restitution of $1,500 and confiscate the .338 caliber Browning rifle used in the commission of these crimes to the State of Wyoming. All other charges were dismissed.

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