Game Law Violations


False Oath

A person may feel they have deep ties to Wyoming, but that in itself doesn’t constitute Cowboy State residency, nor can a person falsely redeem landowner coupons because he feels the Game and Fish Department owes it to him. That’s what one man, who claims residencies in three states, found out in a bench trial conducted in Circuit Court in Rawlins.

The man, who seasonally resides on his McCarty Canyon ranch about 45 miles south of Rawlins, was charged for buying resident elk and deer licenses as a nonresident in 2000 and for redeeming the landowner coupons without harvesting an animal.

The 45-year-old man pleaded not guilty and contested the charges in a bench trial in front of Carbon County Circuit Court Judge Wade Waldrip. The defendant contended that even though he had also claimed residency in Colorado and Arizona, he felt he was a Wyoming resident "at heart” because he had been a resident in the past. His attorney also argued that Wyoming statute was inconsistent because it allowed active duty military personnel to purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses after residing 90 days in Wyoming, while all other citizens are required to domicile one year.

The man attempted to justify redeeming landowner coupons without an animal being harvested by claiming the G&F owed him the money for past wrongdoings.

The judge pronounced him guilty of two counts of false oath to obtain big game licenses and two counts of false claim for reimbursement of landowner coupons immediately following closing arguments in the 1-day trial. He was fined $1,500 and assessed $548 in restitution for the false oath counts and $1,000 and $22 restitution for redeeming the landowner coupons. He was also levied $30 in court costs for each charge.

The case commenced in September 2000 with G&F investigator Scott Browning responding to a tip that the man purchased general resident elk and deer licenses as a nonresident at a Rawlins license agent. The man told several people, including Browning, he did not harvest an elk or deer in 2000. The investigation then discovered the man turned in the landowner coupons, which can only be legally redeemed if an animal was harvested on deeded land, for the $11 per coupon reimbursement.

“It’s part of G&F’s duty to ensure that hunters’ and anglers’ dollars are allocated responsibly and according to the law,” Browning said.

In addition to spending a portion of the summer on his Carbon County ranch, the man operated a construction business in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and in 2000 also purchased a residence in Wickenburg, Arizona. He was issued citations for the violations in July 2001.

“Just owning Wyoming property does not qualify a person for resident hunting and fishing licenses privileges,” Browning said. "An individual must live or domicile here and not claim residency anywhere else for any other purpose to maintain Wyoming residency.”

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