Two Texas men who committed several wildlife crimes when illegally killing three antelope in Wyoming might have gotten away with it had they not crashed their truck soon after driving away from the crime scene.
Matthew Adams, 26, and Carl Denmon, 25, pled guilty to 17 crimes, resulting in over $31,000 in fines and restitution, and each was sentenced and served 30 days in jail, along with 11.5 months of unsupervised probation, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
They also lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in 48 states for five years, and surrendered the firearms used in committing these crimes, which were two Smith & Wesson M&P .22-caliber rifles with homemade suppressors.
On Oct. 18, a Wyoming game warden received a tip from a tow truck driver who had towed a Ford F-150 that had been involved in a crash, as reported by K2 Radio Wyoming. The tow truck driver suspected foul play upon seeing blood and hair in the bed of the truck.
The next day, the game warden inspected the pickup and discovered blood and hair consistent with antelope hair, along with numerous spent and unspent .22-caliber long rifle shell casings, a receipt for the ammunition, a laser boresight and a rifle scope that had been purchased in Rock Springs on Oct. 15.
The game warden interviewed a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper who apparently responded to the scene of the crash. He said the occupants were Adams and Denmon, who claimed the blood and hair in the bed of the truck was from the coyote they had shot and put in the back of the truck for a photo. Afterward, they said they left the animal where it was killed.
The tow truck driver told the game warden that Denmon had blood on his pants, and when he took them to a local hotel, he saw them unload their rifles and a cooler with blood on it.
It was discovered that neither Adams nor Denmon had ever applied for or bought any license in Wyoming; they had traveled 1,600 miles from home to commit these crimes.
From K2 Radio:
Law enforcement officers Interviewed Adams and Denmon. Adams said he killed one doe antelope and one buck antelope when they were driving on the evening of Oct. 15.
Denmon said they killed three buck antelope. They took the heads of the antelope, and some meat from one of the bucks. However, they dumped the heads and meat in the sagebrush near the crash site.
Officers received warrants to search the hotel room, and Adams’ iPhone, which showed two pictures of him posing with one of the buck and his rifle.
The photos had time stamps and locations.
Officers located the remains of the carcasses, and the pair were arrested on Oct. 25.
Adams was charged with wanton destruction (2 counts), taking a big game animal with an illegal caliber firearm (2 counts), shooting outside legal hours (2 counts), using artificial light for hunting (2 counts), using a silencer or suppressor to take big game (2 counts), and accessory before/after the fact.
Adams was ordered to pay $19,070 in fines and restitution.
Denmon was charged with wanton destruction, accessory before/after the fact, taking a big game animal with an illegal caliber firearm, shooting outside legal hours, using artificial light for hunting, and using a silencer or suppressor to take big game.
Denmon was ordered to pay $12,570 in fines and restitution.
“Each year, hundreds of animals are taken illegally in Wyoming, and without tips from concerned members of the public, many of these crimes would go undetected,” the WGFD stated. “The concerned citizen and another reporting party in this case each received a $750 reward for providing information that led to the convictions of Adams and Denmon.”
Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.