Two Men Get Jail Time, Lose Hunting Privileges for Numerous Wildlife Crimes
Two southeast Texas men recently pleaded guilty to numerous misdemeanor wildlife crimes resulting in jail times, five-figure fines and a five-year ban from hunting, according to Sweetwater County Circuit Court records and a Wyoming Game and Fish Department news release last week.
Circuit Court Craig Jones on Oct. 26 sentenced Matthew Adams, 26, of Shepherd, Texas, and Carl Denmon, 25, of Humble, Texas, after their pleas.
Court records did not say why Denmon and Adams traveled more than 1,600 miles to do their illegal hunting.
Adams was charged with 11 counts:
- Wanton destruction of big game animal (2 counts).
- Firearms; size of guns to be used in hunting big or trophy game animals (2 counts). (State law requires the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to set the regulations for the size of firearms to be used in hunting. Big game and trophy animals can be taken only with a firearm which has a barrel bore diameter of at least twenty-three-hundredths (23/100) of an inch and is chambered to fire a center-fire cartridge not less than two (2) inches in overall length ....)
- Shooting outside legal hours (2 counts).
- Use of artificial light for hunting (2 counts).
- Use of a silencer or suppressor to take big game (2 counts).
- Accessory before/after the fact.
Denmon was charged six counts:
- Wanton destruction of big game animal.
- Accessory before/after the fact.
- Firearms; size of guns to be used in hunting big or trophy game animals - using an illegal caliber firearm.
- Shooting outside legal hours.
- Use of artificial light for hunting.
- Use of a silencer or suppressor to take big game.
Jones ordered Adams to serve 11.5 months of unsupervised probation and pay $19,070 in fines and restitution, with $6,000 of that to be paid to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Jones ordered Denmon to serve 11 months of unsupervised probation, to not possess firearms or deadly weapons, and pay $12,570 in fines and restitution, with $3,000 of that to be paid to the Game and Fish Department.
The judge banned them from hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for five years. Because Wyoming is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, this ban applies to 48 other states.
Adams and Denmon also were made to surrender the firearms and other gear including two Smith & Wesson M&P .22-caliber rifles with homemade suppressors.
The case started on Oct. 18 when a Game and Fish Warden received a report about from someone who towed a Ford F-150 that had been involved in a crash. The pickup had blood and hair in the pickup's bed, and the reporting party suspected illegal activity. Adams was the registered owner of the pickup that was held at a shop in Rock Springs.
The next day, the warden inspected the pickup and found blood and animal hair consistent with antelope hair. The warden also found numerous spent and unspent .22-caliber long rifle shell casings and a receipt for the ammunition, a laser boresight and a rifle scope that had been recently purchased at a Rock Springs sporting goods store on Oct. 15.
The warden interviewed the Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper who said the occupants were Adams and Denmon, He asked about the blood in the pickup's bed and they responded they'd shot a coyote, put in the bed, took a Snapchat picture, and left the animal where they killed it.
The Game and Fish Department license database showed neither Adams nor Denmon had ever applied for or bought any license in Wyoming.
The warden interviewed the tow truck driver, who said Denmon had blood on his pants, took them to a local motel, and saw them unload their rifles and a cooler with blood on it.
Law enforcement officers Interviewed Adams and Denmon. Adams said he killed one doe antelope and one buck antelope when they were driving on the evening of Oct. 15.
Denmon said they killed three buck antelope. they took the heads of the antelope, and some meat from one of the bucks. However, they dumped the heads and meat in the sagebrush near the crash site.
Officers received warrants to search the hotel room, and Adams' iPhone, which showed two pictures of him posing with one of the buck and his rifle.
The photos had time stamps and locations.
Subsequent searches located the where the photos had been taken with an antelope in the pickup bed, and located the carcasses or their remnants.
Likewise a search of Denmon's phone revealed other photos of the kills.
Denmon and Adams were arrested on Oct. 25.
On Oct. 26, they each represented themselves, pleaded guilty to all the charges against them, and were sentenced by Judge Jones.
Their rifles and other property were ordered seized at a hearing on Dec. 9.
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