A Wyoming rancher has been convicted of illegally killing big-game animals and promoting the meat as beef jerky. A tip from the person’s girlfriend set in movement a multi-year investigation and sting operation by the Wyoming Recreation and Fish Division (WGFD). In a news release, the company mentioned that investigators used DNA testing to match tissue samples from mule deer and antelope carcasses discovered on Gary Lee Ferrier’s Grazing Hills Ranch close to Natrona with beef jerky that Ferrier offered to unsuspecting clients on-line and in Wyoming.
Ferrier was charged with 26 wildlife violations, together with wanton destruction of big-game animals, killing mule deer and antelope with out a license and through a closed season, and illegally promoting sport meat. He was additionally charged as an adjunct to killing mule deer and antelope with out a license and out of season as a result of he charged eight individuals a “trespass payment” to shoot animals on his land with out the required searching licenses. Ferrier pleaded “no contest” to 9 of the fees. He was ordered to pay $45,070 in fines and restitution and had his searching, fishing, and trapping privileges suspended for no less than 5 years. The remaining 17 costs have been dismissed as a part of the plea settlement.
According to the Casper Star-Tribune, which examined court docket paperwork on the case, the WGFD started trying into Ferrier’s ranch after receiving a tip in 2018. Apparently, Ferrier’s then-girlfriend instructed investigators that he didn’t have a big-game license and confirmed them pictures of him with poached pronghorn and mule deer. She additionally instructed them that he left most of his unlawful kills to rot at a shed on his property.
A division investigator bought a $300 “trespass voucher” that Ferrier marketed by way of social media. Whereas establishing the searching journey to Grazing Hills Ranch, “investigators mentioned Ferrier confirmed them extra of his unlawful kills and ‘outlined’ his searching actions,” as reported by the Casper Star-Tribune. Ferrier additionally served the undercover officers beer “with antelope hair and blood on the underside of the cans” and packages of jerky labeled as “natural beef” that have been later decided to include antelope meat. In all, the WGFD Wildlife Forensic Lab was capable of determine via DNA comparability a mix of 18 distinctive mule deer and pronghorn antelope that have been poached. A few of the proof additionally got here from jerky discovered on the ranch that was packaged professionally and marketed and offered on-line as “beef jerky.”
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“Recreation and Fish is grateful to the Natrona County District Lawyer’s Workplace for his or her diligent work on this case, together with the Natrona County Sheriff’s Workplace and the one that got here ahead with this data,” mentioned Brian Olsen, the WGFD wildlife supervisor for the Casper area. “This kind of case can considerably impression Wyoming’s wildlife. It could have gone undetected with out the general public’s assist.”