In outdoor news, two men are being charged with poaching in Gillette, Wyoming. This comes after a pair of severed pronghorn heads led authorities straight to them. The heads were left by a dumpster at a Candlewood Suites location and found on August 10 by Gillette Police officers. They then notified the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. This discovery led authorities to begin investigating Texan residents Jeremiah A. Beason and David Hernandez.
According to Field and Stream, the details of the kills are gruesome. After interrogation, Hernandez admitted to his involvement in the crime. He said that he shot a pronghorn from the back window of a moving vehicle with a .300 BLK. This ammunition corresponds to an AR-15 or an M4 Carbine, reports F&S.
Hernandez also claimed that Beason shot the second pronghorn out of the passenger side window of the vehicle. According to an affidavit, Beason claimed he was out shooting prairie dogs. Police interrogated a third person who claimed they were driving the vehicle. The driver admitted that he, Beason, and Hernandez fabricated a story as to what happened after they hid the two pronghorn heads in the bushes by the dumpsters. As of September 6, this third person has not been charged with any crimes.
This was a highly illegal incident on all fronts. In Wyoming, it’s illegal to shoot game with an automatic rifle, like the Ar-15 or M4 Carbine Hernandez and Beason may have used. It’s also a crime to shoot game from a moving vehicle. In addition to these crimes, the accused did all of this out of hunting season. Not that it would be any better if they did it during hunting season. But somehow it adds insult to injury.
Two Texas Residents Arrested on Severe Poaching Charges After Disposing of Pronghorn Heads
Gillette Police charged Jeremiah A. Beason and David Hernandez with “taking game animals out of season” according to the arrest records. The Gillette Police Department received an anonymous tip from a resident who claimed they saw the pronghorn heads in the back of a truck. According to County 17 out of Campbell County, Wyoming, the poachers took the pronghorn to a secondary location where they severed the heads, leaving the bodies to rot. They also left behind a towel, a beer can, and a few prairie dog carcasses, according to the affidavit.
Wyoming considers poaching a serious offense, but penalties vary on a case-by-case basis. Per Wyoming law, hunting wolves, big game, and trophy animals out of season or without a license are considered high misdemeanors. The punishment can be meted out as one charge per animal taken, and the maximum is up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $10,000.
A low misdemeanor poaching charge, which covers any other animal hunted out of season or without a license, involves lesser punishment. This involves up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Pronghorn antelope are considered under priority protection in Wyoming, and so the punishment for poaching pronghorn is greater. Currently, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department considers this case under investigation.