Woman Fined $20K for Poaching

A woman from Gillette has been fined nearly $20,000 and is losing her hunting license for killing elk illegally on two separate occasions in Johnson County.

Prairie Whiteface pleaded guilty to the crime on April 28, of taking two elk without proper licenses in 2011 and 2013. The case was initiated in October, when game wardens Dustin Kirsch and Teal Joseph of Gillette passed on information to Buffalo game warden Jim Seeman.

According to a release, the elk were killed east of Buffalo, on a private ranch, near the Powder River. After Seeman received the information, he recalled a similar violation that occurred in 2009 involving the same defendant. In that case, Whiteface’s license was given to a Texas man to use when he harvested a buck mule deer. The Texas man was charged with taking a deer without a proper license and paid a fine of $780. The mule deer was also confiscated.

By October 27, Seeman had enough information to interview the suspect. During the interview, Whiteface admitted to killing both elk and having the elk she killed in 2011 mounted. Johnson County Deputy Attorney Ryan Wright requested fines and restitution because of the 2009 case and the seriousness of the violations.

With her hunting privileges suspended in Wyoming for three years, Whiteface will not be able to purchase hunting licenses in 38 other states that are members of the Wildlife Violators Compact. Both elk heads were confiscated and the meat from the elk taken in 2013 was donated to a family.

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