Bull Elks In Yellowstone National Park
Bill Schaefer, Getty Images

Laramie County District Attorney Jeremiah Sandburg says a pair of Kentucky men who poached two bull elk in southeast Wyoming in 2014 can't use ignorance of Wyoming game laws as an excuse.

Two Kentucky men who were featured on a cable television hunting show who were fined nearly $31,000 and had their hunting privileges suspended for 15 years for poaching two bull elk.

Both 37-year-old Ricky Mills and 25-year-old Jimmy Duncan were caught after someone watching the show "Hunting in the Sticks" reported the men for killing elk in the wrong district. The men pleaded guilty to poaching charges on Monday.

Sandburg says of poaching "These are rights we protect very strictly because these are our resources." He says if the men had taken a Wyoming Hunter Safety Course they would have known the laws on poaching and game license district boundaries.

He says when people come in from out of state "and go around shooting animals willy-nilly without knowing where they are" there is a high risk of the hunters violating property rights as well as state game laws. He says they could not use ignorance of state laws as an excuse because they are obligated to know those laws ahead of time.

Sandburg says the poaching case is similar in many ways to the members of the Canadian group "High on Life" who were ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines for illegally walking on the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Sandburg says in both cases the violators were "reckless" in their disregard for the law as well as damaging resources.

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