A Thayne man was sentenced on Friday, July 26, after pleading guilty to four counts of taking a deer without the proper license. Stetson Long was sentenced to serve six months in the Lincoln County Detention Center and ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
According to a press release from Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred issued Wednesday, Long was placed on unsupervised probation for 18 months with the possibility of an additional 18 months of jail and an additional $20,000 if he violates probation. Long’s hunting privileges were also suspended for 20 years and his fishing privileges were suspended for 10 years.
The charges originated from an investigation by game wardens Neil Hymas and James Hobbs after they received a report from a ranch manager near Cokeville, stating that he had discovered four sets of fresh mule deer antlers hidden in a barn on the ranch.
Investigators learned that Long had been working on the ranch, and between the dates of Nov. 5 and Nov. 13, 2018, Long had located and killed four separate antlered mule deer. The skull plates and horns were removed from the animals and the remainder of the animals were hidden and left to waste.
During interviews with Long, he admitted to killing the animals and ultimately led Game and Fish wardens to the locations of the animal remains.
Investigators also found that Long’s hunting privileges had already been suspended from an incident that occurred in 2016, when Long was convicted of killing two deer. One was taken without a proper license and the other was killed over his hunting limit. He received probation in that case and was fined $800. His hunting privileges were suspended for all of 2016, 2017, and 2018.
“This is one of the more egregious poaching cases we have seen in the state,” Allred said in the press release. “Not only were these deer taken for their antlers, but the rest of the meat from the deer was completely wasted. We are pleased that a serious jail sentence, fines and suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges were given. The Lincoln County Attorney’s Office thanks the Wyoming Game and Fish for the excellent work on this case and their dedication to our wildlife in this state.”