Sheridan- Wildlife crime in Northeast Wyoming increased slightly in 2012 but violations were less serious than in years past. The number of wildlife violations in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Sheridan Region increased by nearly 6 percent. In 2012, game wardens in the region handled 750 wildlife and watercraft violations compared to 708 in 2011. The Sheridan region includes Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell, and a portion of Crook counties.
Although violations increased, they were generally less serious. “We use a wildlife crime severity index to measure the overall severity of violations detected in any one year,” said Bruce Scigliano (pictured), Sheridan game warden and regional law enforcement coordinator. “The severity index has been going up for several years, but this year it declined. This may be due to a greater proportion of less serious fishing or watercraft- related violations”
Wanton destruction, sometimes called thrill killing, was especially troublesome in 2012. In 2012 game wardens documented 26 cases of wanton destruction in the region, compared to 15 in 2011. According to Scigliano, more than 26 antelope and deer were shot and left to rot, apparently for the emotional thrill of the kill itself. “The people that commit this type of crime are not hunters,” said Scigliano “They are killers - they appear to get a thrill by shooting an animal and watching it die.”
In cases of wanton destruction, the shooter recovers nothing. Meat, hide, and antlers are left to waste in the field. “What is disturbing is that research shows that wardens may find as little as 10 percent of the animals killed in this manner. In other words, we could have had many more than 26 deer or antelope shot and left in the region last year.”
In light of the prevalence of wildlife crime, the public has responded by reporting violations. According to Regional Wildlife Supervisor Joe Gilbert, members of the public are extremely supportive of wildlife enforcement. “The public plays a huge role in our law enforcement effort. It shows that they care and take wildlife crime seriously,” Gilbert said.
“Most of the cases of wanton destruction, waste, and over-limit are detected as a result of a phone call from the public. Without the public’s involvement we would not be nearly as effective as we are,” Gilbert said. Gilbert thanks those who reported a crime in 2012 and encourages those with knowledge of violations to call Game and Fish’s Stop Poaching hotline at 877-WGFD-TIP (24 hours a day, seven days a week). Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward.