Concerned citizen tips lead to wildlife harassment conviction
CASPER - In late 2014, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department received over 30 tips from concerned citizens regarding a video on the internet they felt was wildlife harassment. The video showed an ultralight/sport aircraft repeatedly flying low over a large herd of elk in Deer Creek Park in the Laramie Range southeast of Casper. These citizen tips led to a wildlife harassment conviction.
On May 20, Kevin B. Christopherson, 53, of Casper was convicted in Natrona County Circuit Court of harassment of big game. He received a fine of $1,500, a one-year loss of hunting privileges, one year of jail time suspended and one year of unsupervised probation.
Harassment of big game is a high misdemeanor and carries a penalty of $10,000 fine, one year in jail and loss of hunting privileges for up to 6 years.
“While amazing to see wildlife up close, the amount of stress the elk endured was uncalled for. People didn’t see the parts of the video where the elk were pushed through a barbed wire fence. That is why it is illegal to pursue or harass wildlife with any kind of motor vehicle,” says Glenrock Game Warden Gary Boyd. He continued, “The Game and Fish appreciates people letting us know their concerns on these types of incidents. It is good to know how much people care about their wildlife.”
The video posted on YouTube by Christopherson has been viewed over 51,000 times.
Anyone with information on any wildlife crime is urged to call the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP, any Game and Fish office, game warden or by sending a text message to 847411 (TIP411) with WGFD as the first word of their message. Information can also be reported by clicking on the “Stop Poaching” icon located on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s web site homepage. Rewards are possible and informants can remain anonymous.