WYOMING — Two Wyoming men have been convicted on multiple wildlife violations in Sweetwater County that resulted in close to $15,000 in fines as well as loss of hunting and fishing privileges.
An investigation surrounding concerns of wasted game birds led Wyoming Game and Fish Department game wardens to uncover numerous wildlife violations committed in 2019 and 2020 by Justin Chewning and Steven Macy.
During the course of a wasted game bird investigation, Game and Fish wardens learned between Oct. 1 – Oct. 6, 2019 both Chewning and Macy illegally killed mature bull elk within Elk Hunt Area 100 during the closed season, which they tagged with general elk licenses.
Wardens were able to determine the locations where the elk were killed. They also found the carcass from the bull elk illegally killed by Chewning on Oct. 1, 2019. DNA analysis conducted by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Forensics Laboratory confirmed the carcass at the kill site was a match to the skull and antlers Chewning had in his possession. The lab verified there was a 1 in 5 billion chance that another elk had the same DNA.
On Oct. 4, 2020, Chewning and Macy were hunting deer in Sublette county when Macy illegally killed a buck mule deer and Chewning illegally tagged it. Later that same day, while returning from the Pinedale area to Rock Springs, the two men hunted elk in Elk Hunt Area 100 with general elk licenses. Elk Area 100 is limited quota and didn’t open until Oct. 8, 2020, for properly licensed hunters. Macy shot and killed two mature bull elk, and Chewning tagged one of the two illegally killed bull elk with his general elk license.
Chewning was charged with ten violations which included five counts of intentionally taking antlered big game without a license or during a closed season; two counts of transferring a license; two counts of intentionally wasting edible portions of game bird and big game back straps; and five counts of transporting game without a Wyoming Interstate Game Tag, related to five skulls with antlers attached that Chewning had illegally collected. Chewning pleaded guilty to three counts of intentionally taking antlered bull elk without a proper license, one count of taking a buck mule deer without a license, and one count of transferring a license. Chewning’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for fifteen years and was ordered to pay fines of $1,585 and restitution of $7,000. All wildlife seized was forfeited to the State of Wyoming. All other charges were dismissed.
Macy was charged with five counts of intentionally taking antlered big game without a license or during a closed season and two counts of transferring a license. Macy pleaded no contest to one count of taking a buck mule deer without a license and two counts of intentionally taking a bull elk without the proper license. Macy’s hunting and fishing privileges were suspended for two years and was ordered to pay $5,640 in fines, restitution of $1,500 and to forfeit the Browning .338 rifle used in the commission of these crimes to the State of Wyoming. All other charges were dismissed.
“This investigation would not have been successful without the skilled assistance provided by Green River Probation and Parole Office, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department, the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office and the Sublette County Attorney’s Office,” said Game Warden Kelli Pauling.