Astute Viewer Busts Poachers on Hunting Show

Observant man noticed hunters didn't have correct licenses while hunting elk
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2017 12:54 PM CDT
2 Hunters Sentenced for Poaching Elk for TV Show
A pair of bull elk graze together in a field at a farm in rural Bowlus, Minn., on April 28, 2015.   (Kimm Anderson/St. Cloud Times via AP)

An eagle-eyed viewer in Wyoming watching a hunting show on cable TV noticed something amiss—an observation that's led to two hunters from Bedford, Ky., being sentenced for poaching and forced to pay hefty fines, the AP reports. Per a release from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the "concerned" viewer was watching an episode of the Pursuit Channel's Hunting in the Sticks show entitled "Western Redemption" when he noticed that the licenses of hunters Ricky Mills and Jimmy Duncan, who killed two bull elk on the show, didn't seem to match up with the area in which they were hunting. They claimed to be in one spot but were in fact in another "highly coveted hunt area" in which elk can only be harvested every other year.

The department, along with a local game warden, received the viewer's tip and opened an investigation, in which they visited the kill sites and started gathering proof. They also discovered that Mills and Duncan had tried to do the same thing in 2013, and that Duncan had succeeded that year in killing an antelope without a license. The department's investigative lead says he thinks the men made "bad decisions" under pressure to get footage for the show. At their sentencing Monday, Duncan, 25, was told to pony up $17,500 in restitution and fines, while Mills, 37, was hit up for $13,460. Both suspects were also banned from hunting and fishing in 44 states, including their home state, for 15 years, per the Wildlife Violator Compact. The men also have to hand over their elk mounts. (Brazen poachers in France actually entered a zoo.)

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