gray wolf walking on snow
Photo: Caleb Woods

JACKSON, Wyo. — On Tuesday, March 30, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s (WGFD) Jackson office received a report of several dead coyotes found along Wyoming Highway 89, approximately 23 miles south of Afton.

The reporting individual also stated that a cooler with some packages of processed meat and other carcass parts were at the scene and suspected the coyotes may have been poisoned. Following a thorough investigation, Game and Fish found no evidence of wildlife violations.

“I’m ashamed to live in a state where this is legal,” Jackson resident David Stubbs said when he came across the scene. “Pulled over with my kids south of Afton today to take a pee and this is what we found: a cooler with meat, a rib cage and nine dead coyotes. The woman at Wyoming Game and Fish told me that these predators can be removed by any means necessary. I suspected the coyotes had been poisoned, but after a Game and Fish investigation, no poison was found and this scene was deemed lawful aside from littering a cooler. Vile.”

A Game and Fish law enforcement officer investigated the scene the same day the report was received, but did not find evidence to suggest the coyotes died of poisoning, saying that the coyote carcasses were in varying stages of decomposition, with some having died well-before the cooler with meat appeared at the site. Seven coyote carcasses were intact enough to allow a necropsy and all had gunshot wounds, indicating that was the cause of death.

One bullet and fragments of another bullet were recovered from the carcasses. Additionally, although evidence of scavengers was documented at the site, an inspection of the area found no dead birds or other wildlife as would be typical of a poisoning incident. Unfortunately, this specific location has long been a popular site for the disposal of animal carcasses. The coyote carcasses and cooler with meat were recovered from the scene.

Under Wyoming state law, coyotes are classified as a predatory animal, and as such, there is no established hunting season or license requirement for the animals.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department say they appreciate the individual reporting the incident and share their concern for potential wildlife poisoning or any other wildlife-related crime. The Game and Fish encourages anyone with information regarding a possible wildlife crime to call their local Game and Fish office or game warden. Convictions made in wildlife-related crimes often begin with reports from concerned citizens.

Anyone with information regarding a possible wildlife crime is encouraged to call the Jackson Game and Fish office at 307-733-2321, the Green River Game and Fish office at 307-875-3223 or the statewide STOP POACHING hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). Callers may remain anonymous and any information leading to an arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.00.

Buckrail @ Jacob

Jacob Gore was born and raised in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming. As a proud Wyomingite, he loves to share his home with visitors from around the world. Spending years in Jackson and Alaska as an interpretive nature guide, he remains a photographer, traveler, storyteller, and avid hobbyist of all-things outdoors. Jacob enjoys bridging the connection between Jackson and the rest of the state.